B & # 39; & # 39 speed, 19,800 kilometers per hour probe Mars Insight approaching Mars, where it has landed Monday in order to begin its mission: to hear & # 39; earthquakes and study the inner workings of the rocky planet.
The ship will remain & # 39; living the difficult entry into the atmosphere of the red planet and the task quickly reduce its speed just 8 kilometers per hour.
The unmanned spacecraft & # 39; $ 993 million was launched nearly seven & # 39; months ago (5 & # 39; May) from Vandenberg Air Base in California and traveled about 482 million kilometers. Part of its mission is to inform efforts to send a human scouts to the red planet, which NASA hopes to achieve in 2030.
The landing on Mars is the first since 2012, when the explorer of Curiosity
NASA landed on the surface and analyzed rock for signs of life that could habitaw the next planet to Earth, now frozen and dry.
The entry phase, descent and landing will begin on Monday at 19: 47 GMT (2:47 p.m., the Colombia time). Half jokingly, at NASA are claiming up to that stage as "six and a half minutes of & # 39; terror".
Its central instrument is sismometru of & # 39; detection & # 39; earthquakes was developed by the French Space Agency (CNES).
The six earthquake sensors on board are so sensitive to reveal smaller tremors on Mars, such as weak pull their moon Phobos, the impacts of meteors and possibly evidence of & # 39; volcanic activity.
"It is the first mission that will study the deep interior & # 39; Mars", said Spanish Fernando Abilleira, deputy director of design and navigation of & # 39; Insight. "By studying the propagation of the waves below the surface & # 39; Mars, through its seismometers, we will have more information on how the planet has evolved in the last 3,000 million years". he added.
The seismoloġija many informed people about the formation of Earth, about 4.5 billion years ago, but much of the evidence based on the World lost by recycling shell, driven by plate tectonics. This process does not exist on Mars.
The other tool to acquire prominence is the probe of the physical properties and heat flow (HP3), built by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to be implanted in the soil Martian about 5 meters deep to offers the temperatures underground on Mars and the amount of & # 39; heat escaping from inside.
The Insight will be tempered by a parachute landing. Its heat shield helps reduce the ship and protect it against income friction in the red planet's atmosphere.
The site & # 39; landing is a flat area called Elysium Planitia, which NASA called "the greatest park on Mars".
NASA to know in a matter of & # 39; minutes if the landing was a & # 39; successful or not, but will have to wait more than five hours to confirm the deployment of equipment.
Of the 43 missions launched in & # 39; Mars, only 18 reached the red planet, a & # 39; & # 39 success rate; about 40 percent, and all came from the United States. "The go to Mars is very, very difficult", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Directorate of Scientific missions in NASA.
"The exciting part is that we are building on the success of the best players ever landed in & # 39; this planet, which is the NASA team with contractors and their collaborators", he added.
Other probe details
The name comes from Insight "Exploration using internal & # 39; seismic investigations, geodesy and heat transport". The spacecraft stop about one meter from the surface, and once using its solar panels, they will extend almost 6 meters. B & # 39; full load & # 39; fuel, weighs more than 360 kg, almost the same as Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
AFP and EFE