How the AU helped another landing on Mars to happen



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TUCSON, Ariz. – A new spacecraft has just finished a dangerous high-speed trip to Mars and made a safe landing there.

A University of Arizona project helped

Mars InSight lander

. The new probe will work to learn what is well below the Martian surface.

They had many reasons to cheer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

They guided the InSight landing module for millions of miles of space and programmed it to move from more than 12,000 miles per hour for a safe and smooth landing in just under seven minutes.

At the University of Arizona, Professor Shane Byrne witnessed the successful landing. He knows that AU has helped make it a success.

The UA is a world leader in planetary science. He led his own mission to Mars, the

Phoenix Mars

lander

. In just one week

AU Osiris Rex probe

will arrive at the asteroid Bennu and begin preparations to bring an asteroid sample back to Earth.

Shane Byrne works with

HiRise, the Powerful Camera

designed and managed by the University of Arizona
HiRise is orbiting Mars and studying its surface in the last 12 years. Byrne says the HiRise orbit images helped mission planners choose a safe place to land, "and also look at things like the amount of rocks on the surface because you do not land on a rock; we do that by taking regular shots , but also stereoscopic images from two different angles, so we can get an idea of ​​how rough the topography of the surface is. "

HiRise's role in site selection should help InSight find the facts it came to. The site is a hard, stable surface that will help sensitive InSight seismographs measure the quakes on Mars.

"And observing how quickly seismic radio waves arrive for different types of waves allows you to probe the interior of the surface and find out how fast seismic waves can travel through different depths," says Byrne. "This information tells you more or less how the planet is done inland."

And scientists say the data collected by InSight can teach us how other planets form because they believe that Mars can be a model for how other rocky planets come together.

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