Friday , March 24 2023

Mars Lander on course for landing Monday – Astronomy Now



The Insight spacecraft to Mars takes the concept of & # 39; this artist. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

After a journey of & # 39; six months from Earth, the space NASA Mars Insight, which extends into space for about 12,300 mph, it will defeat the thin Martian atmosphere on a & # 39; Monday to start the descent & # 39; six and a half minutes & # 39; , Which began mission & # 39; billion dollars to prove the internal red planet hidden.

"The purpose of & # 39; Insight is nothing less than better understand the Earth's birth, the planet's birth in which we live, and we will do this by going in & # 39; Mars", said Prinċipant Investigator Bruce Banerdt.

In the world, the plate tectonics and mantle overturned constant internal change in the planet's deep, and informed history and its evolution. But Mars is smaller than Earth and much less active than Earth, and keep the "fingerprints" of & # 39; those previous processes.

"Through & # 39; designing & # 39; these boundaries, these various different sections of & # 39; interior of the planet, we can better understand how the planet was formed and how our planet was to be the way we live and we play. … So, we go to Mars. "

final maneuver & # 39; correction was planned Sunday afternoon to reduce slightly the trajectory of & # 39; Insight and ensure targeted landing on a wide plain known as Elysium Planitia.

But as happens with unloading the entire floor of & # 39; Mars, the automated descent & # 39; Insight 90 million miles away will become far away from any direct control – or help – from engineers on Earth. In fact, it will take radio signals 8.1 minutes to make way for Propulsion Laboratory Jets in & # 39; P Pasadena, California, where scientists and anxious engineers will be waiting to find out if b spacecraft made it & # 39; success to the surface.

"We have done everything we can, we have done everything we can think of we want to make sure that & # 39; success", said Tom Hoffman, the project manager Insight. "But you never know x & # 39; is happening."

Nestled inside "aeroshell" f & # 39; & # 39 form, flying saucer and protected by a heat shield & # 39; the state & # 39; land, Insight will begin dipping into & # 39; about 1947 GMT Monday, durable braking forces to 7.4 times the strength of the seriousness of the World as quickly slows down and stalling up to about 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Four & # 39; minutes later, f & # 39; altitude & # 39; 7.5 miles and now walk in & # 39; 928 mph supersonic, will spread parachute & # 39; 39 feet, influence b & # 39; & # 39 force; 15,000 pound per square foot to slow the craft to a much more manageable 295 mph or so.

The heat shield m & # 39; there is no need then released, and expose the bottom & # 39; landing for the environment, and 10 seconds after that, the three legs & # 39; landing will play and lock in & # 39; position.

A few seconds later, about a minute before landing, the radar looks & # 39; below will be activated, measure the altitude of the spacecraft and the rate of & # 39; descent and pass that data to the flight computer of the home country.

Finally, less than a mile & # 39; above the surface and dropped into & # 39; about 134 mph, Insight will be released by the aeroshell and parachute falling & # 39; Freely alone.

One second later, twelve small rocket motor will shoot, each generating around 68 pound & # 39; thrust by pushing and put down 10 times per second, the first move the spacecraft to one side to avoid falling parachute and aeroshell.

Nulling out its horizontal velocity decreasing to around 5 mph, Insight is expected to touch on Elysium Planitia around 1954 GMT, roughly 2 p.m. local time on Mars.

The illustration & # 39; artist Insight spacecraft in & # 39; Mars. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Fifteen minutes later, after which we expect the dust caught by the propellers to refrain to the ground, two solar circular sets & # 39; Insight will play to start transporting batteries spacecraft. The arrays generate about 1,300 watts of & # 39; energy on Earth, but in & # 39; Mars, with its relatively dust atmosphere, they will handle only 300-600 or more.

The entry sequence, descent and landing was temporary to coincide with the path overhead & # 39; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of NASA, which is programmed to record UHF telemetry radiated from Insight across the surface her. That data is stored on board and get orbitatur & # 39; delivered back to Earth about three hours after touchdown.

Data f & # 39; real time will speak back from two experimental spacecraft called Mars One Cube – Marco – A and B launched b & # 39; Insight back in & # 39; May. They first called "CubeSats" to make interplanetarju trip and are the main way that the flight controllers will be able to follow the landing & # 39; Insight.

B & # 39; difference from the Mars Reconnaissance highly sophisticated orbiter, Marco spacecraft, which cost about $ 18.5 million to build, looks radio equipment that can & # 39; takes UHF signals from Insight and immediately leads back to world at frequencies of & # 39; X-band.

"If it works, both Marco spacecraft will transmit data entry, descent and landing & # 39; Insight almost as it happens, it will be very good for both Polo team as well as for Insight team to figure out what's going on with & # 39; possible & # 39; is, "said Anne Marinan, project manager & # 39; Mars One in Cube & # 39; JPL.

Regardless, Insight – the konvolti acronym serve for Interior Exploration using & # 39; Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport – will send a "tone" generated by computer directly back to Earth seven & # 39; Minutes after landing to indicate his general health.

But not received detailed telemetry Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter until waives its data stored in three hours after touchdown. Confirmation that the solar arrays deployed will usually be returned by orbitatur of & # 39; Mars Odyssey NASA about five and a half hours after landing.

"I am totally excited and completely all nervous at the same time, because everything we did today makes us feel comfortable that we will go on Mars," said Hoffman. "But everything has to go perfectly. Mars ever can & # 39; discard curve ball."

But if it works, Insight will pay the first detailed look at the interior of & # 39; Mars, and provided long answers to questions about how they have been assembled planets when beaten solar system from a cloud & # 39; debris 4.5 billion years ago.

Insight is equipped with & # 39; two primary instruments: the Seismic Experiment Interior Structure – SEIS – seismometers, provided by the French space agency, CNES, and Probe of heat and properties Physical Flow – HP3 – provided by the Agency Aerospace German, DLR. Both devices cost European space agencies around $ 180 million.

To work properly, the two instruments should be lowered to the surface of & # 39; Wife with a robotic arm and both require a relatively flat area and free of rocks near the landing grounds. The site & # 39; landing & # 39; the Elysium Planitia was chosen because it provides just that.

"As the landing engineers, we really like this landing site," said Rob Grover, revenue manager & # 39; Insight, descent and landing on Elysium Planitia. "It's flat, m & # 39; has many rocks, is a very safe place to land."

The engineers will use the cameras on arter to examine b & # 39; precisely the area around the spacecraft to ensure that the instruments are placed in the best possible place.

But it will not be soon.

"It's kind of & # 39; & # 39 mission by, slowly put back to work, compared to & # 39; a lot of things we did before", said Banerdt. "It will take us probably two or three months, at least, to get our instruments & # 39; below. We do surveys on the area in front of our spacecraft, make sure that we put instruments on a rock or a hole or something like that.

"And then we are very, very very carefully about how to put the instrument down. … So it will probably take us a month or two to get to the bottom seismometers and another month to get the flow probe heat & # 39; down and penetrates & # 39; below the surface. We would probably look at the beginning of the following spring when we really will start to get back to that kind of & # 39; science from Mars. "

The seismometers is able to identify smaller movements than the width & # 39; of & # 39; atom & # 39; hydrogen, to record the weak vibrations & # 39; marsquakes distant, the meteor attacks and even mild tidal tug caused by the passage of & # 39; two small lemon & # 39; Mars, Phobos and Deimos, structure & # 39; inside the planet.

Figure Insight spacecraft. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The temperature probe targeting itself passes to a depth up to 15 feet to measure changes in temperature and, b & # 39; extrapolation, determine how much heat comes from the heart deep below.

In the third investigation, accurate analysis of the radio signals from the arter as Mars rotated allowing scientists to determine the exact orientation of its polar axis as tune slow or precesses because of the heart "sloshing around "deep inside. From that data, they hope to determine the size, density and composition of the core.

The goal is to help scientists understand how terrestrial planets of the solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – formed and how they evolved in a very different world we see today.

"Venus is hot enough to melt lead," Banerdt told reporters last week. "Mercury has baked face the sun. Mars is quite cold today, but Earth is a beautiful place to take a vacation. We & # 39; d really like to know why one planet to go one way and another planet to go another way. Those -tweġibiet are in the details of the structure formed very early in the planet's history. "

In the world, that structure was "kind & # 39; quick, both through plate tectonics as well as through the mantle convection", he said. "And so, the evidence of very early processes was removed & # 39; outside."

But on Mars, planet half the size of Earth where the plate tectonics and mantle churning are at work, evidence of the early history of the Earth is still kept in the interior depth.

"These processes make it all happen in the first few decades & # 39; & # 39 million; years", said Banerdt. "We want to understand what happened, and the indications for this are in the planet's structure set in & # 39; those early years."

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