Mars lander spreads its solar wings

NASA's New Mars Lander In Sight Just Passed a Crucial Test

Called InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), the lander is now scheduled to take off sometime in May 2018, and once it reaches Mars (in November, if there are no delays in the launch), it will study the interior of the red planet. It unfurled its wing-like solar panels which will be put inside the rocket at launch.

The next spacecraft NASA is sending to Mars is not a rover or an orbiter, but rather a lander. The solar cells on the lander have received a phenomenal amount of engineering, to sustain in an environment that experiences only half the amount of sunlight as compared to Earth. The study showed that rising air during the 2007 global dust storm led to over a hundred-fold increase in water vapour in Mar's middle atmosphere.

The panels will power a host of scientific tools-not just cameras, but also a probe that can measure the temperature of the planet's interior and a seismometer that will feel for so-called marsquakes, tiny tremors that could reveal the structure of the planet.

With the help of the mentioned instruments, the Mars InSight will be capable of conducting various tests which are created to help scientists comprehend what's happening within the red planet.

The fully spread-out solar panel array, one of two, on NASA's InSight spacecraft, a Mars lander. "The insights into how Mars formed will help us better understand how other rocky planets are created".

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"Think of InSight as Mars" first health checkup in more than 4.5 billion years", Bruce Banerdt, the mission's principal investigator, NASA, said in his statement to the associated press.

"We'll study its pulse by "listening" for marsquakes with a seismometer. And we'll check its reflexes with a radio experiment".

On Mars, those panels fuel the robot and its science. It was originally due to launch in 2016, but was delayed after a failure was detected in the seismometer instrument.

"This is the last time we will see the spacecraft in landed configuration before it arrives at the Red Planet", Scott Daniels, Lockheed Martin InSight manager, said in a news release. The unique lander has an unusual name too, a magnanimous - Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport - or Mars InSight in short. That process was part of the late-stage testing campaign ahead of InSight's departure to its launch site, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.


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