Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Published Monday, November 26, 2018 12:11 AM EST
CAPE Canaveral, Fla. – Journey & # 39; six months in Scene & # 39; space & # 39; NASA Mars space for it on Monday at & # 39; south to the data scientists and engineers hoped to landing & # 39; soft red accuracy on flat plains.
The target aircraft touchdowns Insight & # 39; afternoon, as anxiety built among those involved in the international effort & # 39; $ 1 billion.
Hazardous landing & # 39; Insight through the Martian atmosphere, after a journey of & # 39; 300 million miles (482 million kilometers), had stomachs of & # 39; confusion and nerves stretched to the maximum. Although old pro at & # 39; this, the last attempted landing at NASA & # 39; tightly six years ago.
Geological robot – designed to explore the mysterious insides & # 39; Mars – will go from 12,300 mph (19,800 kmph) to zero in & # 39; six flat minutes as ease the Martian atmosphere, issue parachute, removing machines descendants and, hopefully, land on three legs.
"The landing on Mars is one of the most difficult jobs that people should do in planetary exploration", noted a main scientist & # 39; Insight, Bruce Banerdt. "This is a difficult thing, is something so dangerous that there is always a chance that something could quite inkomperabbli & # 39; go wrong."
Rate & # 39; World & # 39 success in; Mars is & # 39; 40 percent, counting each flight & # 39; flyby, orbital flight and landing of the U.S., Russia and other countries dating back to 1960.
But the United States attracted seven & # 39; landing & # 39; Of Mars & # 39; success in the last four & # 39; decades. With just one touchdown failed, is an enviable record. No other country has been able to set up and operate spacecraft on the dusty red surface.
Insight NASA could give to his eighth victory.
It is shooting for Elysium Planitia, plain near the Martian equator that hopes Insight hopes is so clear as in the parking lot & # 39; Kassachusetts with little, if any, rocks. This expedition is the rock collection. Instead, the stationary artillery & # 39; 800 pound (360 kg) will use the robotic arm 6 feet (1.8 meters) to put its mechanical mole and sismometru on the ground.
The automatic naming mole will vacate 16 feet (5 meters) & # 39; below to measure the internal heat of the planet, while seismometru of & # 39; tech listening & # 39; marsquakes possible. Nothing like this has been tried before in our younger neighbor next door, nearly 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) & # 39; away.
No experiment has never been moved by & # 39; as a robotic spacecraft to the Martian surface current. No Lander lasted more than several inches, and no sismom never worked on Mars.
By examining the deepest and dark of & # 39; inside & # 39; Mars – still preserved from its earliest days – scientists want to create 3D images that can reveal how rocky planets of our solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago and why it turned out so differently. One of the big questions is what made the World so hospitable to life.
Mars once had flowing rivers and lakes; the deltas and lakebeds are now dry, and the planet is cold. Venus is due to thick atmosphere furnace and & # 39; the heat trapping. Mercury, the closest to the sun, has a positive face hidden.
The planetary knowledge gained from the operation of & # 39; & # 39 two years; Insight can & # 39; even spread on rocky worlds beyond our solar system, according to Banerdt. The findings on Mars may help explain the type & # 39; & # 39 conditions in, these so-called exoplanets "and enter history as we are trying to figure out how planets form", he said.
While concentrating on blocks & # 39; planetari building, Insight m & # 39; has no ability to detect life. What is left for future rovers. The mission & # 39; Mars NASA in 2020, for example, will collect rocks for eventual return can & # 39; show evidence of ancient life.
Because so long since the last terrain Martian NASA – the Rover of curiosity in 2012 – Mars mania is gaining not only the communities of space and science, but folks & # 39; day.
The parties are planned to see coast to coast in & # 39; mumetarji, planetary and libraries, as well as in France, where seismometru of & # 39; Insight has been designed and constructed. The NASDAQ giant screen in Times Square of & # 39; New York NASA Television broadcasts begin one hour before the schedule Insight & # 39; 3 p.m. TSE & # 39; landing; as well as the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Museum of Air and Space in & # 39; Chantilly, Virginia, and the Museum & # 39; Denver Nature and Science. The Insight spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin near Denver.
But the real action, at least in the World, will unfold in Propulsion Laboratory Jets NASA f & # 39; Panadena, California, which offers the flight control team & # 39; Insight . NASA is providing a special broadcast on the Internet & # 39; 360 degrees inside center & # 39; control.
Confirmation of touchdown can & # 39; take minutes – or hours. As a minimum, a delay of & # 39; communication & # 39; eight minutes between Mars and Earth.
Pair & # 39; & # 39 satellites; Portfolio size Insight run by liftoff in & # 39; May trying to transmit radio signals to Earth, b & # 39; time & # 39; at least nine & # 39; minutes. These experimental CubeSats will fly directly to the red planet without stopping. Signs also can travel directly from Insight to radio telescopes in West Virginia and Germany. It will be longer listen & # 39; from the orbitaturi of & # 39; NASA Mars.
The project manager Tom Hoffman said Sunday trying his best to stay & # 39; cool off as the hour mark. Once Insight phones home from the Martian surface, though, it looks a lot like acting in his three girls made dinner & # 39; Thanksgiving, running around and screaming like crazy.
"Just to warn anyone who is near him I shall examine yourself … I am 4 years & # 39; inside, so watch out," he said.