Updated November 27, 2018, 06:27
Huge applause and even tears of joy at the control center in California: the "InSight" robot landed on Mars on Monday morning in Central European times. Scientists hope the 650 million euro project will cover 485 million kilometers of knowledge for a future manned mission to the Red Planet.
NASA's "InSight" robot landed successfully on Mars. After a journey of about 485 million kilometers, the May launch, "InSight," landed at Elysium Planitia north of the equator of Mars on the red planet on Monday morning.
"The landing was confirmed," it sounded from the speakers at the control center in Pasadena, Calif. – and all NASA scientists, dressed in dark red shirts, burst into applause, applause, hugs and tears of joy.
Vice President congratulates US
"What a wonderful day for NASA," said the head of the US space agency, Jim Bridenstine, who was in the control center. "It was so intense that you could feel the emotions." Just seconds after the landing, US Vice President Mike Pence congratulated him on the phone. A short message from Twitter, Pence praised the landing shortly afterwards as an "incredible milestone".
Meanwhile, the robot has already sent a first photo showing some of the surface of the planet and the horizon – and a little dust on the lens. If "InSight" is fully operational, it will emerge in the coming days.
In an extremely complicated maneuver, after entering the Martian atmosphere, the robot was demoted with brake missiles and parachutes. "We reached the Martian atmosphere at a speed of 19,800 kilometers per hour, and the entire sequence until landing took only six and a half minutes," said NASA manager Tom Hoffman. "During that short period of time, InSight had to do dozens of actions on its own, with no mistakes – and it seems like that's exactly what happened."
Robot must provide information on the structure of the planet
The 360 kg robot can not roll, but remains in one place. The landing site is located in a region that is largely flat and free of larger rocks and rocks. Previous Mars missions have not yet explored the land area.
With numerous scientific instruments, the robot will investigate Mars and, above all, learn more about the structure of the planet and the dynamics beneath its surface. Once the probe is secured, the search for appropriate locations for the instruments brought in must begin in the immediate vicinity. A robotic arm should lift you to the ideal position.
A device developed in Germany, a kind of mole from Mars, must pierce the ground. The robot with the official name HP3 ("Package of Heat Flow and Physical Properties") was developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
The pointed device 40 centimeters in length will penetrate to a depth of five meters and will measure the flow of heat there. "The landing was exciting, but now I look forward to drilling," said Nasa researcher Bruce Banerdt. The total of about 650 million euros expensive "InSight" -Mission is projected for two years.
Landings on Mars are considered extremely difficult
Last Nasa 2012 brought the rover "Curiosity" successfully on Mars. With "InSight," NASA successfully brought a robot to Mars for the eighth time. Landings on the red planet are considered extremely difficult – only about 40 percent of all previously launched Mars missions in the world were successful.
In 2016, for example, the "Schiaparelli" probe of the European Space Agency Esa fell due to a computer error during the landing.