ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

Ghanaian engineer built NASA's new spacecraft to land in Mars

02 December 2018, 04:09 | Justin Tyler

Safely on Mars, InSight unfolds its arrays and snaps some pics

NASA's In Sight Mars lander acquired this image of the area in front of the lander

He is in charge of the InSight mission's robotic arm and hand. Each ICC image has a field of view of 124 x 124 degrees.

We now have a handsome new image of Mars. NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an nearly seven-month, 300-million-mile (485-million-kilometer) journey from Earth.

For more on the InSight mission, check out Episode 8 of Watch This Space, which takes a look at the science behind the mission and what NASA hopes to discover by drilling into the red planet. The twin satellites passed with flying colors, according to NASA officials, who said post launch they received minute-by-minute updates from the CubeSats. In addition to, the lander is expected to gather data about the geology and interior of Mars in order to help scientists understand what exactly the red planet is and how it formed.

It was the first time in history a spacecraft's journey was documented this way.

These instruments include the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structures to investigate what causes the seismic waves on Mars, the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package to burrow beneath the surface and determine heat flowing out of the planet and the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment to use radios to study the planet's core.

'This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our worldwide partners and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. There's nothing better than watching a lifetime of work come down to a few seconds, and seeing the world's smartest people weep in anticipation or celebrate with the ideal handshake. The $814 million lander, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, followed its script to the letter, culminating in the successful unfurling of its critical solar panels.

For now, however, InSight has just started with its checkouts on Mars before the science can really begin.

Mars In Sight team members Kris Bruvold left and Sandy Krasner react after receiving confirmation that In Sight landed

NASA's InSight mission, which successfully landed on Mars on November 26, is aided by two cube satellites that were tested and prepared at Cal Poly, SLO. That process begins 16 minutes after landing and takes another 16 minutes to complete.

The InSight machine said it is now "soaking up the sun with my solar panels". Verification will come from NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, now orbiting Mars.

The CubeSats' mission objective is independent of InSight's.

"We are solar powered, so getting the arrays out and operating is a big deal", said Hoffman. The network got the first photos and videos of the landing apparatus.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks with the project's principle investigator, Bruce Banerdt. "When the first images come down, our engineering and science teams will hit the ground running, beginning to plan where to deploy our science instruments".

InSight is equipped with two full-colour cameras and has already sent back six shots since touching down. It is the most recent Mars lander of NASA after Pheonix, which completed its mission in 2008.

"That's one giant leap for our intrepid, briefcase-sized robotic explorers", said Joel Krajewski, MarCOproject manager at JPL. "Believe me, it is a lot of fun". Since landing, it has taken two photos and sent them back as postcards to Earth, showing off its new home. "The experimental MarCO CubeSats have also opened a new door to smaller planetary spacecraft". The people in NASA's control room weren't the only ones cheering. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

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