ibusinesslines.com December 09, 2018

Countdown to Mars: NASA sweating 'seven minutes of terror'

03 December 2018, 10:44 | Justin Tyler

NASA Looking Toward Manned Mission To Mars 'Sometime In The 2030s'

NASA's In Sight Mars lander acquired this image of the area in front of the lander using its lander-mounted Instrument Context Camera on Mars

This means the lander will not be expected to scour the surface of the Red Planet but rather take measurements of what is happening underground and towards the alien world's center. NASA satellites around Mars will provide updates.

From the time it hits Mars's atmosphere - travelling at a speed of around 19,800 km per hour - it will go through a series of steps.

With InSight, scientists hope to compare Earth to Mars, and better understand how a planet's starting materials make it more or less likely to support life.

Insight will land 600km away from the Curiosity rover.

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. It's also taking over NY with the landing set to be shown on big screens in Times Square.

The signal from Mars will be delayed by 8.1 minutes, and by the time we receive the first signal of landing process initiation, the entire thing would have been over on Mars.

Earth's success rate at Mars is just 40 percent, counting every attempted flyby, orbital flight and landing by the US, Russia and other countries dating back to 1960.

Nasa has live video coverage of the landing, and we'll bring you up to the minute news of InSight's progress. The lander will be broadcasting information during entry, descent and landing in the UHF band to NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which can not simultaneously receive in one band and transmit in another.

The landing will take place on a giant volcanic plain called Elysium Planitia - Curiosity is now to the north of this location.

The InSight lander aimed for an afternoon touchdown, as anxiety built among those involved in the $1 billion worldwide effort.

The terror? Well, as NASA engineers have explained, when it comes to Mars landings they often need everything to be in flawless sequence during that tiny timeframe for things to go right. They are experimental, however, and NASA is not counting on this data. In 2012, there were similar events to celebrate the Mars Curiosity rover's landing.

Unlike NASA's rovers, InSight is a lander created to study an entire planet from just one spot.

InSight's seismometer is so sensitive it can detect tremors smaller than a hydrogen atom.

The NASA Insight Mission will take place on Monday, November 26.

This is the first time NASA has used a robotic arm to place instruments on the surface of Mars, and the agency wants to be careful. "On Mars, when we start getting these Marsquakes, they're going to be telling us where there's stuff going on on Mars, where the forces are concentrating, and I think that's going to tell us something that was probably completely absent from our models".

Seismology is the method that we've used to gain nearly everything we know, all the basic information about the interior of the Earth, and we also used it back during the Apollo era to understand and to measure sort of the properties of the inside of the moon.

PALCA: Even though they can't do anything to help InSight as it descends, mission managers should be able to watch its progress.

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