Washington, November 25 (EUROPA PRESS). Seven minutes from the ultimate descent to the surface of Mars will reach its climax on November 26 – the seven months of NASA's InSight mission to the Red Planet.
InSight will reach the top of the Martian atmosphere at 19,800 km / h and will reduce its speed only 8 km / h before its three legs touch the Martian soil. This extreme delay should happen within seven minutes.
Lockheed Martin, chief executive of the InSight mission, has produced a video that explains in detail the characteristics of the descent to the surface of Mars and the complexity it represents for space engineers.
Thanks to the speed and friction with Mars' atmosphere, the InSight thermal shield will withstand temperatures of 1500 degrees Celsius. When there are only three minutes to land in the perfect plane of Elysium Planitia, the parachute will open, then the thermal shield will be separated and the three legs of the new Martian lab will be located. Just a minute before touching the ground, retro rockets will begin to slow down for a smooth landing scheduled for 19.54 GMT.
NASA calculates a 201 beep signal sent by InSight itself to Earth, which shows that everything has gone well and that the probe is working on the surface of Mars. Not before 20.04 and probably the next day, the first image of InSight will be obtained from the surface of Mars. At 20:35, a confirmation of the placement of solar panels from NASA's Mars Odysseus solar array must arrive.
The mission of this ship is not to drive like curiosity vehicles or opportunities seeking traces of ancient humidity or biological but to explore the interior of Mars fixed on the ground.
"The signatures of the planet-forming processes can only be found by discovering and studying hidden evidence that is far below the surface." InSight's task is to study the deep interior of Mars by taking the planet's vital signs: pulse, temperature and reflexes "explains Bruce Banner, chief research officer at InSight, in a statement at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Taking these vital signs will help InSight's science team remember the moment when the rocky planets of the Solar System were formed.