Monday , September 26 2022

After a nail-biting descent, here is next to Mars Insight


It is difficult to stand on Mars, but NASA has managed just that with its landing & # 39; Insight. Since childhood, I loved seeing the jumps and maneuvers & # 39; another space on TV – always feel a bit of & # 39; that edge of & # 39; the seat excitement. But it did not prepare me for feeling to see it worked mission. Any period of & # 39; silence during the descent & # 39; seven & # 39; & # 39 minutes; Insight felt eternity, and time again & # 39; exercise itself only during the calls by the Christine Szalai systems engineering. Never forget the joy of the moment when she finally announced "Touchdown confirmed".

The Insight mission has been over a decade in the planning. Among planetary missions, is a bit of & # 39; rare. While most missions are designed to look at the surface or the atmosphere & # 39; planetari bodies, the aim of & # 39; Insight is well to look beneath the surface – help us crack the mystery of & # 39; how planets and other rocks formed.

The consignor bears number & # 39; instruments, including sismometri, probe heat flow, magnetometer and radio transmitter. The Probe of Heat Flow and Physical Properties (HP3) will sail in & # 39; & # 39 deep, five meters below the surface & # 39; Mars, almost double by exercises held in the hands of the lunar missions. Its measurements will let us know how fast heat is lost from the planet's interior – help us understand how Mars tberrek over time.

The Experiment & # 39; Structure & # 39; Rotation and Interior (RISE) will essentially win signal & # 39; radio transmitted from the World back to us. The difference in frequency between the original signal and returned to you & # 39; is used to work the speed & # 39; landing & # 39; relatively Insight to Earth, quite like pitch & # 39; siren going to let us know whether or & # 39; away from us. We are specifically interested in using speed to tell us how the assets & # 39; & # 39 rotation; Mars is felt over time. The size & # 39; these wobbles depends on the structure of & # 39; the interior, and especially its dense metallic core. Like raw egg wobbles more than one raised when spinning on a flat surface, Mars will tune more if its core is liquid.

I work on Seismic Experiment for Internal Structure (SEIS), consisting of & # 39; two sismometri, mounted on & # 39; leveling system that will meet & # 39; about 15cm & # 39; above the surface & # 39; Mars. This experiment is designed to tell us the amount of & # 39; seismic activity on Mars. It will also use the time it takes for seismic waves to reach the sismometri to tell us about the temperature and composition of the interior, rather like a doctor uses a CT scanner.

The next few months

Now we have about three months during which the instruments will be deployed activated. Over the coming days, health systems will be checked, and the Lander and the surrounding areas will be measured carefully so that the operations team can & # 39; decide where to put probe the heat flow and sismometri of & # 39; Insight. The first images taken from the surface suggests that we landed on a low krater b & # 39; very nearly free sand from the rock, so it seems that there will be multiple options.

The first appearance back from Insight. The black balls are on the transparent protective cover lens, which had not yet been removed.
Courtesy NASA / JPL-Caltech.

Around mid-December, the robotic arm will remove the tripod mount sejometri & # 39; outside deck & # 39; landing and jbaħħalhom to the surface. After detailed controls, the & # 39; leveling system will be used to ensure that the seismometers are perfectly horizontal. By mid-January, the fence should be placed on the side of & # 39; on the sismometri to protect from the elements. They can then be turned on, and the probe heat flow is deployed.

The probe heat flow starts to return the data as you start working below the surface, so we expect results in the first half of 2019. The radio experiment takes a little longer. Just happens to, over the next year, we are not in the best position to see the mast lean & # 39; Mars. That changes in & # 39; half of 2020, when we should be ideally situated to discover the secrets of its success.

Regarding the SEIS experiment, when we see something exciting depends on how often to generate seismic energy. We currently know it. What we know is that there are two potential sources of & # 39; seismic activity: the meteorite impacts and "markskoli" created by movement along faults near the surface.

Crater of & # 39; 30 meters on Mars created by & # 39; & # 39 f impact, some time between 2010 and 2012.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / University & # 39; Arizona

While we know that meteorites of & # 39; often hitting Mars, the rate of movement is a mystery injury. B & # 39; difference from Earth, Mars m & # 39; has no moving tectonic plate, so it is estimated that the movement & # 39; defect occurs as the internal world contained. However, some smaller errors on Mars appear to have been formed not by cooling, but with the movement of molten rock beneath the surface. Discovering the frequency and nature of & # 39; marsquakes us working on the exact causes.

Cerberus Fossae, blame Martian under 10m years.
ESA / DLR / FU Berlin

The big questions

Through its three major experiments, Insight will provide a "picture" of & # 39; the current status and composition of & # 39; Mars. But that's not where it will end scientific discoveries. Finally, the mission helps to understand the processes occurring more than 4.5 billion years ago, when the solar system was very small.

Here's why. The composition of & # 39; planet is established when it was formed, in the case of & # 39; Mars was only a few million & # 39; years after the sun was turned on. We think that as a result of its greater distance from the sun, Mars formed from different material and b & # 39; very volatile than Earth. However, until the composition & # 39; Mars is known, this idea is very difficult to test and develop. Data returned from Insight will provide fundamental key to understand how rocky planets in our solar system formed – and perhaps also those around other stars.

The composition, temperature and magnetic field of our planet are also vital to sustain life on our planet. Thus, although not seeking Insight life, give new clues about how the Earth was rewarded with & # 39; only way to life & # 39; more than 4 billion years ago.

Insight has already been very successful in engineering, and science team now has an incredible opportunity to use it to reveal the secrets of & # 39; Mars. Hopefully you excited as we are.

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