Author Topic: Mars Lander Insight  (Read 232 times)

BridgeTroll

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Mars Lander Insight
« on: November 26, 2018, 07:35:18 AM »
Watch the landing today!

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#media

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Mission Overview

NASA's InSight lander was commanded to deploy its solar arrays to test and verify the exact process that it will use on Mars

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior. But InSight is more than a Mars mission - it is a terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of the most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science - understanding the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.

By using sophisticated geophysical instruments, InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet's "vital signs": Its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow probe), and "reflexes" (precision tracking).

Why Mars?

Previous missions to Mars have investigated the surface history of the Red Planet by examining features like canyons, volcanoes, rocks and soil, but no one has attempted to investigate the planet's earliest evolution - its building blocks - which can only be found by looking far below the surface.

Because Mars has been less geologically active than the Earth (for example, it does not have plate tectonics), it actually retains a more complete record of its history in its own basic planetary building blocks: its core, mantle and crust.

By studying the size, thickness, density and overall structure of the Red Planet's core, mantle and crust, as well as the rate at which heat escapes from the planet's interior, the InSight mission will provide glimpses into the evolutionary processes of all of the rocky planets in the inner solar system.

In terms of fundamental processes that shape planetary formation, Mars is a veritable "Goldilocks" planet, because it is big enough to have undergone the earliest internal heating and differentiation (separation of the crust, mantle and core) processes that shaped the terrestrial planets (Earth, Venus, Mercury, Moon), but small enough to have retained the signature of those processes over the next four billion years. Within its own structural signature, Mars may contain the most in-depth and accurate record in the solar system of these processes.

The InSight mission will follow the legacy of NASA's Mars Phoenix mission and send a lander to Mars, which will delve deeper into the surface than any other spacecraft - to investigate the planet's structure and composition as well as its tectonic activity as it relates to all terrestrial planets, including Earth.

Objectives

The InSight mission will seek to understand the evolutionary formation of rocky planets, including Earth, by investigating the interior structure and processes of Mars. InSight will also investigate the dynamics of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts, which could offer clues about such phenomena on Earth.

Spacecraft and Payload

The InSight mission is similar in design to the Mars lander that the Phoenix mission used successfully in 2007 to study ground ice near the north pole of Mars. The reuse of this technology, developed and built by Lockheed-Martin Space Systems in Denver, CO, will provide a low-risk path to Mars without the added cost of designing and testing a new system from scratch.

The InSight lander will be equipped with two science instruments that will conduct the first "check-up" of Mars in more than 4.5 billion years, measuring its "pulse", or internal activity; its temperature; and its "reflexes" (the way the planet wobbles when it is pulled by the Sun and its moons). Scientists will be able to interpret this data to understand the planet's history, its interior structure and activity, and the forces that shaped rocky planet formation in the inner solar system.

The science payload is comprised of two instruments: the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), provided by the French Space Agency (CNES), with the participation of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), Imperial College and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); and the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), provided by the German Space Agency (DLR). In addition, the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), led by JPL, will use the spacecraft communication system to provide precise measurements of planetary rotation.

Mission Details

The InSight mission is part of NASA's Discovery Program. It will rely on proven technologies used on NASA's Mars Phoenix mission, and will send a lander to the Martian surface that will spend two years investigating the deep interior of Mars - as well as the processes that not only shaped the Red Planet, but also rocky planets throughout the inner solar system.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Lander Insight
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2018, 10:18:41 AM »
Another success...  8)

https://www.popsci.com/nasa-insight-mars-landing-update

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NASA's InSight lander is basically about to play an epic claw game on Mars
Except it's multi-million dollar instruments instead of plush toys.

By Shannon Stirone 

On Monday at 11:52:59 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, NASA successfully landed the InSight spacecraft on the surface of Mars. The intrepid spacecraft survived ‘seven minutes of terror’ during landing only to softly touch down on the dusty surface of the red planet. Despite having successfully landed a few spacecraft on Mars, the odds of having this go well were still pretty low—less than 40 percent. Mars has just enough atmosphere to set an incoming object on fire, and not enough to really slow it down. Landing anything there requires the utmost precision, planning, and an understanding of that pesky thing called physics. But the years of planning paid off.

Aside from Earth, Mars is the most closely studied planet in the solar system. However, in spite of having orbiters, landers, and rovers visit over the years, no spacecraft has ever focused on the interior of the planet. We don’t know how big the core is, what it is made of, or if the planet is still active. This is what InSight will investigate over its two year primary mission.

InSight’s next step is to deploy its solar arrays—the lander’s only source of power. It has to wait for the literal dust to settle before unfolding them so they can begin collecting Martian sunlight.

Troy Hudson, Instrument Systems Engineer for InSight, is thrilled to have the lander safely on the ground—and to begin collecting data. “But first InSight has to begin the process of what the team is calling ‘secondary EDL,’” he explains.

InSight is the first lander to not have its science instruments locked into place on its chassis. Instead the robot has to use an articulating arm to lift each tool up and out, and set them down on the surface. In the days and weeks ahead InSight will assess the health of its robotic arm and uplink health checks to the instruments. The team will also do a detailed survey of the area so they can choose the best spot for each device to go.

This entire process will take around three months, starting with the placement of a French-made seismometer. This is a first for all of planetary exploration—no spacecraft has ever attempted to grasp anything on another planet. No pressure, InSight!

InSight team member Elizabeth Barrett likens the use of the robotic arm to the infuriating stress of the claw game at a carnival—if the plushie you were trying to win was located on another planet, and you had to release it with as much care as you picked it up.

The team estimates it will take one month or so to get all of the instruments calibrated. Then, as Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt says, “the really deep questions can begin—hold onto your hat for awhile.”

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."