The american space agency’s lander InSight is to arrive on Mars Monday. The event can mark the space agency’s come back to the planet.
Unlike NASA’s Curiosity rover, that arrived in 2012, InSight won’t move across the planet’s surface.
Instead it’ll become the first spacecraft used just for exploring underground. it’ll study the geology of Mars, seeking signs of Martian quakes.
InSight is a joint U.S. and European project. The lander’s full name is seismic Investigations, geodesy and heat Transport. it’s six meters long and 1.5 meters wide. It weighs 360 kilograms.
InSight’s 1.8-meter robotic arm will put in place 2 experiments. each are designed to look deep beneath the surface to realize understanding about the structure of the planet.
One experiment, known as SEIS, for seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, can study seismic waves. These are waves of energy caused by quakes or objects that hit the planet.
NASA scientists say SEIS will be ready to sense changes in speed as the waves travel through the planet. this might help scientists learn what Mars is made of. NASA says SEIS has a shell to guard it from wind, massive temperature changes and alternative conditions.
Another InSight experiment is to dig into the planet. A temperature sensor are sent as far as five meters below the surface.
The device is designed to set itself firmly in place. it’ll measure temperature and appearance for proof of volcanic and other geologic activity.
Another important experiment can use radio waves to study Mars’ “wobble.” more info about this movement might help scientists determine whether the planet’s core is liquid or solid. That information may help justify why Mars is surrounded by a weak magnetic field.
Bruce Banerdt is that the lead scientist for InSight with NASA’s jet propulsion Laboratory.
He represented the spacecraft as a robot which will take care of itself.
It’s got its own brain. It’s got an arm…It will listen with its seismometer. It will feel things with the pressure sensors and also the temperature sensors. It pulls own power out of the sun, he noted.
NASA’s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, said the results of the InSight project might “revolutionize the way we expect about the inside of our planet.”
But, first, InSight can need to land on Mars with its sensitive instruments undamaged.
Since Mars exploration started in the Nineteen Sixties, only about 40 percent of orbiters and landers have successfully carried out their work.
Tom Hoffman is InSight’s project manager. He said earlier successes don’t lessen the concerns for each new operation. “Just as a result of we’ve done it before doesn’t mean we’re not nervous and excited about doing it again,” he said.
InSight can enter the Martian atmosphere traveling at 19,800 kilometers an hour. it’ll slow for landing on Elysium Planitia, a large flat area near the planet’s equator.
If all goes well, InSight might deploy its experiments in about ten weeks. The InSight project is predicted to continue for one Martian year, about 2 years on Earth.