ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

How does NASA's InSight compare to Hollywood's The Martian?

28 November 2018, 05:57 | Justin Tyler

New lander will add to humans' long fascination with Mars

Mars probe faces daunting challenge to land safely

The 800 pound InSight spacecraft is finally going to reach the red planet to closely study the deep interior of Mars.

NASA adds, "Landing on Mars is hard".

NASA's Mars-bound InSight spacecraft is on track for a soft touchdown on the surface of the Red Planet on November 26, the United States space agency said.

Once NASA has made sure that InSight is in its optimal health, the space agency will make an attempt to land at about noon on Monday, Pacific Time. "It takes skill, focus and years of preparation", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters here. The Red Planet probe is a joint US-European mission and has been £1 billion in the making. After six months zooming through space, the InSight lander will make its way to the Martian surface in just six minutes.

"There's a reason engineers call landing on Mars "seven minutes of terror", Rob Grover, InSight's entry, descent and landing (EDL) lead, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has said in a statement.

Launched on May 5, Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander marks NASA's first Mars landing since the Curiosity rover in 2012.

Michael Meyer, NASA's lead scientist for Mars exploration, said the Martian surface is too cold and dry, with too much radiation bombardment, for life to now exist.

"We can't joystick the landing, so we have to rely on the commands we pre-program into the spacecraft".

Scientists expect to see a dozen to 100 marsquakes over the course of the mission, producing data to help them deduce the size, density and composition of the planet.

NASA announced that their InSight spacecraft is on track for a soft touchdown on Martian surface on November 26.

Even then, engineers will not hear about the experience of InSight during landing until approximately eight minutes after.

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