NASA's Mars InSight Lander Just Nailed Another Major Milestone
NASA's Mars InSight Lander Just Nailed Another Major Milestone
Now that it’s on Mars here’s what’s next for NASA’s Insight lander In Sight took this image not long after landing
28 November, 2018, 12:07
InSight's Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) captured the photo-this camera is found on the lander's robotic arm. These initial images are grainy because the dust shields haven't been removed from the camera lenses yet. This image was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, now orbiting Mars.
"This has important implications beyond just these two neighbors [Mars and Earth], as we are now discovering thousands of exoplanets around other stars, some of which may be quite similar to Earth or Mars in terms of size, location and composition", said Jack Singal, a physics professor at the University of Richmond and a former NASA astrophysics researcher. NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter relayed the signals, which were received on Earth at about 5:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. EST).
The solar arrays are key to helping InSight function.
This is why the information InSight sends back about its landing site is crucial.
When NASA's Insight lander successfully touched down on Mars Monday, a pair of engineers, known as Brooke and Gene, broke out this awesome celebration inside NASA's mission control room in Pasadena, Calif. "It's been a long day for the team", Tom Hoffman, InSight's project manager at JPL, said last night, "But tomorrow begins an exciting new chapter for InSight: surface operations and the beginning of the instrument deployment phase".
InSights solar arrays have unfurled, which will provide the craft - roughly the size of a 1960s convertible - with power during its residency. Mars has weaker sunlight than Earth because it's much farther away from the Sun.
On Monday, people all over the world watched the live broadcast of the InSight Mars landing.
While Earth's tectonics and other forces have erased most evidence of its early history, much of Mars - about one-third the size of Earth - has seemingly remained largely static, creating a geological time machine for scientists, Green said.
Over the next few days, the robotic arm camera used by InSight will photograph the ground to help scientists at NASA determine where to place instruments for an upcoming two-year mission.
Nasa officials say it will take two to three months for the main instruments to be deployed and put into operation. The image shows the landscape of the Elysium Planitia, which is a large plain that's located at the equator of Mars. Spain's Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.
JPL manages InSight for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland.
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