Published: Sun, December 02, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

The InSight Lander Of NASA Has Arrived Its Destination

The InSight Lander Of NASA Has Arrived Its Destination

The robot will not be spending the duration of its mission snapping landscape pics and selfies, however, but will instead conduct a core-to-crust investigation of the Red Planet's deep interior - the only planet apart from Earth that mankind will have studied in this way.

NASA engineers Kris Bruvold (left) and Sandy Krasner (right) celebrate after the InSight lander safely touched down on Mars.

"WALL-E and EVE performed just as we expected them to", said MarCO chief engineer Andy Klesh of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which built the CubeSats. "InSight will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The twin satellites passed with flying colors, according to NASA officials, who said post launch they received minute-by-minute updates from the CubeSats.

Now, the two satellites are floating off farther into deep space, the mission to has come to an end.

Farah Alibay, a systems engineer at JPL for four years, told the Sun in May, just before the mission launched, that the satellites' success would be critical for similar missions in the future.

After a 458-million-kilometer (300-million-mile) journey lasting seven months, NASA successfully landed their newest probe on Mars yesterday, to the delight of its employees. While the InSight lander began its surface operations immediately, science data collection will begin about 10 weeks after landing.

The CubeSats' mission objective is independent of InSight's. "Within two or three months, the arm will deploy the mission's main science instruments, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) and Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP) instruments".

InSight's surface-operations phase began a minute after touchdown and one of its first tasks was to deploy its two decagonal solar arrays, which will provide power.

There are no science instruments on MarCO. There was a problem however: The orbiter could only either receive or send information, so engineers at JPL and NASA headquarters had to wait around four hours to learn whether their half-a-billion-dollar spacecraft had successfully landed or crashed 33 million miles away. "Believe me, it is a lot of fun".

Signals indicating that its solar panels had opened and were collecting sunlight on the Martian surface were relayed to Earth by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter (launched in 2001 and now orbiting Mars), which were received at about 7.00 a.m. IST as expected. The people in NASA's control room weren't the only ones cheering.

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