The InSight & Impeccable & # 39; land on Mars



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A NASA spacecraft designed to puncture the interior of Mars landed on the planet after a dangerous and supersonic crash in its red sky, sparking a jolt among scientists hoping in hopes of reaching 160 million kilometers of space. .

Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Jumped out of their seats, shouting, dancing, and hugging, knowing that InSight had landed on Mars, the graveyard of a multitude of previous missions.

"Touchdown confirmed!" A flight controller called a little before 3 in the afternoon, instantly dispelling the anxiety that gripped the control room as the spacecraft made its six-minute descent.

Due to the distance between Earth and Mars, it took eight minutes for confirmation to arrive, relayed by a pair of tiny satellites that followed InSight during the six-month, 480 million-kilometer journey.

The two satellites not only broadcast the good news almost in real time, but also sent the first InSight Mars snapshot just four minutes after landing.

The image was splattered with dirt because the dust cover was still on the rig's camera, but the terrain around the spacecraft seemed soft and sandy with only a visible visible rock.

It was NASA's eighth successful landing – indeed, mankind – on Mars since the 1976 Viking spacecraft and the first in six years. NASA's Curiosity rover, which arrived in 2012, is still on the move on Mars.

The impression of a lander artist InSight.

The impression of a lander artist InSight.

"Impeccable," said JPL chief engineer Rob Manning.

InSight, a $ 1 billion ($ 1.4 billion) international project, includes a German mechanical tower that will excavate five meters to measure the internal heat of Mars.

InSight still was not out of danger: NASA was waiting on Monday for news of whether the spacecraft's vital solar panels had successfully deployed. Panels should open to generate power; otherwise, the mission is a failure.

In the next "suns" – or 24-hour and 39-minute Martian days – flight controllers will also assess the integrity of InSight's critical robotic arm and its scientific instruments.

NASA followed its old, straightforward approach this time using a parachute and brake motors to get InSight's velocity of 19,800 km / h when it pierced the Martian atmosphere, about 114 km, to 8 km / h at the landing .

The danger was that the spacecraft could burn in the atmosphere or rebound.

The three-legged InSight settled on the west side of the Elysium Planitia, the plain that NASA was aiming for.

The 360-pound InSight is stationary and will operate at the same location for the next two years, the duration of a Martian year.

Australian Associated Press

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