After traveling six months and millions of kilometers, NASA's Mars Insight is days from its final destination.
A one-way, 358-kg spacecraft is set to land on the Red Planet on Monday at 3 o'clock. ET. It is certain to be the nail temptation for hundreds of people who worked on the mission.
It's easy to imagine that the anxieties that engineers face six and a half minutes on the surface of Mars: from all missions to the Red Planet, only 40 percent are successful.
"We all get butterflies when we think of a spacecraft that actually land," says Kathryn Johnson, a professor at the University of British Columbia, a co-investigator of the international team that will measure Seismic activities on Mars with the help of InSight.
Watch Chief InSight Engineer Rob Manning explained what should go right:
B.The success rate is improving. NASA's Twins, Spirit and Opportunity, which began in 2004, have long exceeded their initial mission from the 90th Mars Days or tears. The spirit lasted for 11 years. Possibility is quiet after a few months of dust from dust, but technically not dead.
Then there is Curiosity, which started in 2011. It's still strong.
The landing page is "really annoying and really safe"
When it reaches Mars, InSight will travel nearly 500 million kilometers, because it was not a direct journey. Inside the protective housing, it will enter the narrow atmosphere of Mars at about 19,800 km / h. He will deploy parachute and firefighters, which will allow them – hoping – gently touch your feet.
The spacecraft will land in the Elisium Planitia region, near the equator of the planet, only 550 kilometers from the Curiosity.
While the spacecraft has recently landed safely, this location is a bit challenging: it is at a higher altitude, which means that the spacecraft can not use how thin the atmosphere on Mars to slow down.
So why choose this place?
"Mostly because it's really, really boring and really safe," Johnson said.
Ram, a stony area best suited to this geological mission, where instruments can be easily deployed. In the case of rocky places, the seismometer and exercise, also known as The Mol, will not be able to perform their jobs.
InSight is the first geological mission of the Red Planet. For two years, using different instruments, the seismic activity or Marquis will be measured, as well as the negligible magnetic field on the planet. It will also take the internal temperature of Mars.
"For those of us who really study the interior of the planets, this is indeed, really important mission," Johnson said. "We wanted to go on Mars for several decades, so it's really exciting to be there soon."
Mission goals will help scientists understand Mars and the planetary formation, and this helps pave the way to the knowledge that human missions can follow.
Orbiter can hear
During the landing, Insight will send signals to the orbit of NASA Scout Orbiter and transmit data when the Earth is able to receive signals.
There is also the possibility of listening to two CubeSats, small orbits with the breadth of bread balls, the first of its kind to make an interplanetary journey. Mars Cube One – actually two satellites – can be in a position to receive a signal and relay on the Earth right away.
Back to Earth, two radio telescopes will listen to the lighthouse that tells operators that InSight safely reached the surface.
"We will be very happy when we get the otherwise boring sound signal that says," Yes, we are here, "said Johnson.
Take a look at NASA's food landing on the PS News starting at 2 am ET. Monday.