It took a little more than three months, but NASA reports that its Space InSight survey (internal reconnaissance using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) of $ 830 million the last half of its journey from Vandenberg Air Base in California to Mars has made . If the mission continues as planned, the probe will land on the Red Planet by the end of the year and begin its actual task: listen to the planet.
"As of August 20, the spacecraft had traveled 172 million miles (277 million kilometers) since its launch 107 days ago," NASA said in an update. "In another 98 days it will travel another 129 million miles (208 million kilometers) and to Mars's Elysium Planitia area, where it will be the first mission to study the deep interior of the Red Planet." InSight is equipped with a seismometer with six sensors, the SEIS instrument (Seismic experiment for the inner structure), which measures ground movements, a Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument that will nest on the surface of Mars to reduce the amount of heat. measuring that escapes the interior, and a Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE) that will detect deviations in the axis of rotation of the planet. All three main instruments were tested in July and Insight's principal investigator, Bruce Banerdt, says the spacecraft is ready to go to work.
IMAGE CREDIT: NASA / JPL-CALTECH
InSight has also recently tested his camera by sending a selfie from his rear screen (top) home, which is not as dirty as it sounds. "If you are an InSight engineer, that first glimpse of the heat shield blanket, cable ties and cover bolts is a very reassuring sight because it tells us that our Instrument Context Camera works perfectly," said project manager Tom Hoffman. "The next photo we want to make with this camera will be from the surface of Mars."
The expected landing date for the probe is November 26, so note your space calendars and keep an eye on InSight's next selfie.