NASA, InSight Lander, Mars , NASA latest updates
image source: Space News

NASA has launched its InSight probe way back in May with the higher hopes of successful landing on the red planet so that scientists will be able to study the quakes happening on the Mars. The major day has arrived as the probe is about to land and it is on the target of every news channel that it will be able to land successfully on the Martian surface or not. The probe will attempt landing on Monday, Nov 26.

According to the previous stats, it is seen that only 40% of the Landers which were sent to the Mars were able to successfully land on the surface of Mars. NASA is trying to accomplish successful landing from decades but out of all the international space agencies, NASA is the only one who is able to smoothly land on the Mars but the percentage of success is still low. Anxiety is increasing as Mars InSight lander is going to land on Mars.

NASA’s InSight Mars Lander has covered a long journey of about six months and 300 million miles which are equals to 482 million kilometers. The grand finale will be shown on the 26 November which is Monday afternoon.

The robotic geologist named InSight must go from 12,300 mph (19,800 kilometres) to zero in six minutes flat, as it pierces the Martian atmosphere, pops out a parachute, fires its descent engines and lands on three legs.

It is NASA’s first attempt to land on Mars in six years, and anxiety is building.

For InSight, the researchers are quite confident about the successful landing. The confidence is driven by the researchers because of powered descent mode that is being employed in the InSight which was pre-tested and cleared the test.

InSight will land on the north pole of Mars as Phoenix lander did and studies the water cycle of Mars and even observed snowfall also.

Monday is said to be the deciding day for InSight landing. It will be following a similar trajectory to enter into the atmosphere of Mars at an altitude of 125 km and having on board thrusters to escape excessive heating and the velocity will be slowed down near 20,000km/hour then the probe’s three legs will touch the surface of Mars.

“Certainly, there are always a number of things that could go wrong,” said Stu Spath, Lockheed Martin InSight program manager and director of Deep Space Exploration. Lockheed was the prime contractor for the entire spacecraft, including the landing system. “Landing on another planetary body is in my opinion one of the toughest things that we do in our field.”

How InSight will land on Mars?

  • NASA is making sure that InSight should travel at the decided angle. If InSight comes into too shallow, the spacecraft could skip off the thin atmosphere, and an entry angle that is too steep would produce too much thermal heating.
  • NASA’s InSight is planned to land near the equator in the western Elysium Planitia. Another fear is that there are dust storms prevalent on mars and till now no Dust storms are seen so, positive hopes are aligning in.
image source: Lockheed Martin
  • There is a time delay of approximately 8.1 minutes in the communication between Earth and Mars at the moment so NASA is not going to know that InSight have landed properly or not
  • InSight is going to send two tones via UHF signal to Earth as the confirmation signal that InSight have landed Mars.
  • After the landing, scientists will take it slow and steady with the lander and its scientific instruments. On InSight’s sixteenth day on Mars, Sol 16, the lander is scheduled to deploy its seismometer, and on Sol 38 it will deploy a wind and thermal shield to protect the instrument from external noise sources. On Sol 44, InSight will deploy its heat probe, and six days later the lander will begin hammering its probe 5 meters down into the Martian surface. Finally, by March 2, all of the lander’s instruments will reach their science-taking configurations, and the real Martian geology will begin.

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