Marcia Dunn, Associated Press
Posted Monday, November 26, 2018 12:11 EST
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The six-month trip of a NASA spacecraft to Mars was close to its dramatic great finish on Monday in what scientists and engineers hoped to be soft, precision landings on an equal footing.
The InSight truck was meant to have an afternoon touch, a worry built among the $ 1 billion international players.
The dangerous drop of InSight in the Mars atmosphere, after a 482 million-mile journey, had shattering steels and the nerves stretched to the maximum. Although an old professional in this, NASA last tried to land on Mars six years ago.
The robotic geologist, designed to explore the mysterious insides of Mars, has to pass from 12,300 km / h (6,800 km / h) to zero for six minutes when it penetrates the Mars atmosphere, launches a parachute, lights up its downhill engines, and three legs .
"Mars landing is one of the most difficult individual tasks people have to do in exploring the planet," said InSight leading scientist Bruce Banner. "It's such a difficult thing, it's so dangerous that there's always a very unpleasant chance that something will go wrong."
Mars's Earth's success rate is 40 per cent, counting every attempt to fly, orbital flight and landing from the US, Russia and other countries dating back to 1960.
But the United States took seven successful landings on Mars in the last four decades. With just one failed touchdown, this is an enviable record. No other country has managed to set and manage a spacecraft on the dusty red surface.
InSight can give NASA eighth victory.
I'm shooting for Elisium Planice, a plain near the Martian equator, which the InSight team hopes to be flat as a parking lot in Kansas with a few, if any, rocks. This is not a rock gathering expedition. Instead, a 360-kilogram stationary airplane will use its 1.8-meter robotic arm to place the ground a mechanical mole and a seismometer on the ground.
The self-destructive mall will erupt 5 meters down to measure the warmth of the planet, and the ultra-high-tech seismometer listens for possible benefits. Nothing like that had ever been attempted before in our neighboring neighbor, nearly 160 million kilometers.
No experiments have been robotically moved from the spacecraft to the actual surface of Mars. None of the droughts have dug more than a few centimeters and no seismometer ever worked on Mars.
Examining the deepest and darkest interior of Mars, preserved from the earliest days, scientists hope to create 3D images that could reveal how the rocky planets of our solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago, and why proved so different. One of the big questions is what made Earth so hospitable to life.
Mars had once run rivers and lakes; deltas and ice beds are dry and the planet is cold. Venus is a furnace due to its dense atmosphere. Mercury, closest to the sun, has a surface that is well baked.
The planetary know-how accumulated by InSight's two-year operation may even be transferred to rocky world outside our solar system, Banner said. The findings on Mars could explain the type of conditions in these so-called "exoplanets," and how they fit into the story we are trying to understand about how the planets are formed, "he said.
Focusing on planetary building blocks, InSight does not have the ability to discover life. This will be left for future ruvers. For example, the NASA Mars 2020 mission will collect rocks for eventual return, which may contain evidence of ancient life.
Since it's been so long since NASA's last Massive Ground Section – "Curiosity" in 2012 – Mars Mania conquers not only cosmic and scientific communities, but everyday people.
Scrutinizing countries are planned coast to coast in museums, planets and libraries, as well as in France, where the seismometer of InSight is designed and built. NASDAQ's giant NASDAQ screen in Times Square, New York, will begin broadcasting NASA television one hour before the InSight scheduling at 3am. EST touchdown; so will be the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia and the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver. The InSight spacecraft was built near Denver by Lockheed Martin.
But real action, at least on Earth, will be developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Engine in Pasadena, California, at the home of InSight's control team. NASA provides a special 360-degree online broadcast from the control center.
Confirmation of a touchdown may take minutes – or hours. At least there is eight minutes of communication between Mars and Earth.
A pair of briefcase-sized satellites ending InSight, as the hangover in May will try to transmit its radio signals to Earth with a potential nine-minute delay. These experimental CubeSats will pass directly behind the red planet without stopping. Signals can be moved directly from InSight to radio telescopes in West Virginia and Germany. It will take longer to hear NASA's orbits from Mars.
Project Manager Tom Hoffman said on Sunday he is trying to stay calm when the hours are reversed. Once InSight radiates his home from the surface of Mars, he expects to behave very well with his three young grandchildren at Thanksgiving dinner, running like crazy and screaming.
"Just to warn someone sitting near me … I'm going to let go of my inner 4-year-old, so be careful," he said.