"A small step for man, one great for humanity …". Forty years after the historical expression of astronaut Neil Armstrong, and the first time that human beings set foot on the moon, mankind reaches yet another achievement. Send a vivid picture of the planet Mars and land the spaceship Insight. It is the first time that humanity is in a lively connection with the Red Planet. It is the first time that everyone, via online technology, can see a real image of a planet, perhaps the next human colony in space.
The goal is to map the interior of the planet, as well as its seismic activity.
This is NASA's first landing from 2012 (when it was the robotic Curiosity vehicle).
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For scientists, the mission of today is particularly important, because it is the first time that a robotic geological laboratory will study the interior, the composition and more specifically the tectonic activity of the Red Planet, but also of any other planet outside the earth.
After a journey of 484 million kilometers with 19.800 km / h, the InSight (Insect Exploration with Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) lowers the speed to just eight kilometers per hour (the speed of a man makes jogging) and will try a " soft landing on the planet.
The entire landing process takes less than seven terrifying minutes, with NASA engineers abusing them & # 39; the six-and-a-half minute & # 39; call in which they can do nothing else but pray that they have correctly planned the movements of the robot vessel and that there will be no unexpected.
If everything goes so fast, the space device opens its solar panels to power it, because the batteries only reach a Mars day, as well as a robot arm.
Confirmation that this process has been successful will be a few hours late with the Mars Odyssey and MRO satellites in orbit around Mars and flying over the landing site twice a day. Only then will NASA confirm that the mission was successful.
Characteristics of the space-geological laboratory
The "InSight" of about one meter and a weight of 358 kilos is a tripod static geophysical detector instead of moving like the robbers that already exist in the red planet.
His journey to space has started since 5 May. The final destination is a vast flat area of Mars, known as "Elysium Planitia", 130 km long and 27 km wide, also known as "the largest parking lot on Mars".
From a stationary position, "InSight" will map the "heart" of the Red Planet after about three months, a period necessary to test and deploy its scientific instruments.
The latest NASA data show that the sandstorms that have been on this planet for months have now calmed down and the landing zone is quiet.
Countries is never easy on the Red Planet, where up to now almost two out of three missions have failed. The most recent failure was the European Space Agency, in 2016, with the ship "Siaparaleli" crashed due to a technical error.
InSight is equipped with:
– a capsule resistant to high temperatures up to 1500 degrees Celsius developed during the breaking of the atmosphere of Mars due to friction,
– a parachute that will open at a height of 12 km from the surface. as well
– with small missiles positioned at a height of 1,200 meters to brake and guide the cathode smoothly.
The cost of the mission amounts to one billion dollars and of them, almost 20%, the Europeans put their hand in the pocket.
Most of InSight was built by the American spacecraft Lockheed Martin Space. However, the sensors and seismograph, which detect vibrations and seismic waves inside, are British and French.