After 7-month journey, spacecraft nears landing on Red Planet

Космический зонд In Sight сел на Марсе

Космический зонд In Sight сел на Марсе

Only 40% of missions sent to the Red Planet by any agency have been successful.

The Mars InSight lander has touched down on the dusty Red Planet after sailing 548 million kilometres over a six-month voyage through deep space.

Although NASA emphasized the experimental nature of the cubesats prior to the landing, the MarCO spacecraft performed as intended, receiving the UHF telemetry from InSight during its entry, descent and landing phase and rebroadcasting it at X-band frequencies received by NASA's Deep Space Network.

The last part of the journey was the most harrowing, with NASA calling it "seven minutes of terror" due to the agency's inability to control the landing of the spacecraft, which cost $828 million.

Slowed by friction, deployment of a supersonic parachute and the firing of retro rockets, InSight descended 123km through pink skies to the surface in 6.5 minutes. Messages sent by the lander confirmed that all of the craft's systems were functioning "nominally" shortly after its landing.

It will help explain how all rocky planets, including the Earth, evolved. InSight had to hit the atmosphere at an angle of 12 degrees exactly.

Mars looms ever larger in America's space future. That included collecting engineering data to assess the "survivability" of the spacecraft and "seeing what other great science and lessons we can pull from those craft". Although InSight will also have an onboard weather station and suite of cameras, the mission's focus is on peeling back the profound mysteries of the Martian interior. How, though, could scientists know whether or not there are mission-scuttling rocks hidden just below Elysium Planitia's dirt? "We also have orbital assets [such as NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter] that can then show us exactly where that impact was, because we are constantly mapping the surface".

Once InSight measures the heat flow number just below its landing site, it can be extrapolated globally, adds Smrekar. In order to become fully functional, it still has to deploy its solar panels. "We can use Mars as a time machine, to look back at the first few tens of millions of years after it was formed, and understand why the Earth became the way it is", Banerdt said. "We are solar powered, so getting the arrays out and operating is a big deal", Hoffman said. Together, those instruments will take measurements of Mars' vital signs, like its pulse, temperature and reflexes - which translates to internal activity like seismology and the planet's wobble as the sun and its moons tug on Mars.

Bridenstine also said Vice President Mike Pence called to congratulate the U.S. space agency for its hard work.

Recommended News

  • Over 50 Migrants ARRESTED After STORMING US-Mexico Border — CARAVAN CHAOS

    Over 50 Migrants ARRESTED After STORMING US-Mexico Border — CARAVAN CHAOS

    Their presence has drawn Mexican troops, protesters and fiery rhetoric from President Donald Trump and Mexican officials. However, they were met with pepper spray and smoke pellets, according to The Epoch Times , and quickly dispersed.
    LeBron James says Lonzo Ball 'doesn't realize how great he is'

    LeBron James says Lonzo Ball 'doesn't realize how great he is'

    But as Lakers coach Luke Walton aptly pointed out, focusing on the misses by James and Caldwell-Pope kind of misses the point. The Jazz (8-10) have lost four of their past five games and allowed at least 113 points in all four losses.
    Blizzard Warning in effect for entire KQ2 Viewing Area

    Blizzard Warning in effect for entire KQ2 Viewing Area

    In addition, portions of Boone, McHenry, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb and Kane counties will remain under a blizzard warning from 6 p.m. But once we get to Sunday, it will be parts of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes that get blanketed by up to a foot of snow.
  • Melania Trump unveils lavish White House Christmas decorations

    Melania Trump unveils lavish White House Christmas decorations

    Upon entering the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall, guests see more than 14,000 red ornaments handing from 29 trees. Visitors are encouraged to write messages to soldiers overseas on special digital tablets near this tree.
    Winter storm Bruce takes aim at northern IL

    Winter storm Bruce takes aim at northern IL

    Flights were mostly on time Monday at Kansas City International Airport, one day after the storm caused widespread delays. The Kansas City area was blanketed with snow Sunday (Nov. 25) making for slick conditions for those traveling by road.
    Northern California's Deadly Camp Fire Is 100% Contained

    Northern California's Deadly Camp Fire Is 100% Contained

    Fire crews battling the blaze got a key boost last week in the form of the first winter storm to hit the state this year. Hundreds of police officers and volunteers have searched in and around Paradise since the fire swept through the area.
  • Magnitude 6.3 natural disaster  strikes western Iran

    Magnitude 6.3 natural disaster strikes western Iran

    Dozens of rescue teams, as well as the national army and Iran's Revolutionary Guards have been deployed, the authorities said. In 2003, a 6.6-magnitude quake destroyed the historic city of Bam in the south-east of the country, killing 26,000 people.
    Where are tribe that killed missionary

    Where are tribe that killed missionary

    Chau , a graduate of Oral Roberts University, a Christian college in Oklahoma, has been described as a Christian missionary. It also talks about Chau successfully reaching the shore of the island with friends and waiting to make contact with them.
    TLP chief Khadim Rizvi arrested in Lahore

    TLP chief Khadim Rizvi arrested in Lahore

    The TLP has also vowed to return to the streets if Ms Bibi is ever allowed to leave the country and claim asylum overseas . A police document seen by Reuters listed 10 other leaders of Rizvi's group who had also been detained.
  • Wait, Are Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Actually Feuding?

    Wait, Are Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Actually Feuding?

    The premises are expected to be ready early next year, apparently for the delivery of Harry and Meghan's first child. Still, the source says that the tension is not the reason for Harry and Meghan's move.
    House Panel to Probe Trump's Financial Ties to Saudi Arabia

    House Panel to Probe Trump's Financial Ties to Saudi Arabia

    Senator Ben Sasse, a frequent Trump critic, criticized Trump's stance on Khashoggi's killing as weak. Joni Ernst of Iowa said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday .
    Whale stranding in New Zealand leaves 145 dead

    Whale stranding in New Zealand leaves 145 dead

    The rest of the whales were euthanised due to their deteriorating condition and the remote, hard access to the location. New Zealand has one of the world's highest rates of whale strandings, although the precise cause for it is not known.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.