NASA InSight probe landed on Mars after seven months of travel


Pasadena, United States– "Landing confirmed!": The American probe InSight landed on Monday in Martian soil and has already sent the first photo of the surface of the red planet.

After seven years of work and seven months of travel in space, the US spacecraft InSight "armed" and soon after sent the image.

Each successful stage of this gritty and risky operation generated a riot at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) control center in Pasadena, California.

The "confirmed landing" in the controller's voice prompted the rest of his colleagues in control to shout with joy and hug in celebration. It happened at 11:52:59 in California (19:52:59 GMT), one minute ahead of schedule.

"It was intense," summed up the director of the US space agency Jim Bridenstine. "It's a unique, incredible experience."

Bridenstine also indicated that a few minutes after the "landing" he received a call from Vice President Mike Pence, who also celebrated on Twitter.

"Congratulations to @NASA (…) and for all those who made possible "the arrival of InSight to Mars." A great achievement. "

It is the first time since 2012 that an artifact has landed on Mars, after NASA's Curiosity vehicle, the only one currently active on the surface of the red planet, did so.

More than half of the 43 attempts to bring robots, satellites or others to Mars – deployed by space agencies around the world – have failed.

Only the United States managed to put artifacts there, investing in these missions with the goal of preparing a future incursion with human explorers by the 2030s.

Bridenstine said at a subsequent press conference that the laboratory for that mission, which he estimated to have occurred "in the mid-2030s," will be the moon.

"We can replicate as much as possible for a mission to Mars," he said, ensuring that the focus is on making these voyages in a sustainable way, with technology that can be reused.

"Your nation is really committed to reaching Mars and using the Moon to achieve that," he added.

"My first photo in #Marte"

The pose process was perfect: the parachute activation, the deployment of its legs and the reduction of speed from 19,800 km / h to 8 km / h in just seven minutes.

NASA made "final touches on the algorithm guiding the spacecraft to the surface" hours before it entered the atmosphere, where the temperature reached 1,500 ° C.

It had a heat shield reinforced to withstand the impact.

The spacecraft traveled at about 20,000 km / h, three to four times faster than a rifle bullet, to reach a rectangular area of ​​about 10 km in 24 km.

After having left a point on Earth, 480 million kilometers away, it was "how to score a goal 130,000 miles away," NASA said earlier.

The first photo was sent by two satellites that accompanied InSight during its crossing to Mars.

"My first photo on #Mars"NASA wrote in an account created for InSight on Twitter.

"The lid of my lens has not yet been removed, but I had to show a first glance at my new home."

InSight now has to open its solar panels, a crucial phase that NASA will know if it succeeds in a few hours.

This 993 million dollar probe is supposed to listen to and examine the interior of Mars to try to unravel the mysteries of its formation billions of years ago.

Knowledge that later would allow to better understand the formation of the Earth, the only rocky planet from which its interior was actually studied.

Elizabeth Barrett, chief operating officer of JPL, said it would take two to three months to put all the instruments on the surface and another pair to start receiving the data.

The goal is to construct a three-dimensional map of the planet so that "we can understand the interior of Mars, just as we get to know the outside world," said Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator for the project at JPL.

The InSight is equipped with a French concept seismograph, SIX, that will be placed directly on the Martian soil and will hear its minimum vibrations: meteor shock waves, earth movements, crunches of rock strata, even deep magma movements. .

"I received confirmation that there are no stones in front of the module," he said "relieved and very happy," the principal investigator of the French simulator, Philippe Lognonne.

Another notable instrument of German origin is the HP3, which must excavate between 3 and 5 meters the surface of Mars to take its temperature.

The ship's wind sensors are of Spanish design.


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