Mars Touchdown – WISH YOU WERE HERE!
First Mission to Mars in 6 Years
It was an exciting morning on 26 November 2018.
Just before 7:00am AEDT, NASA’s spacecraft ‘Insight’ barrelled through Mars’ atmosphere at 19,785km per hour and made a successful landing on Mars. Insight sailed 548 million km through deep space, slowed just enough to be able to land by supersonic parachute and retro rockets. It hurtled 123km through Martian atmosphere to the surface in all of 6.5 minutes.
The words ‘seven minutes of terror’ reverberated around Earth!
“Landing on Mars is one of the hardest single jobs that people have to do in planetary exploration,” said Insight’s lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt. Says Banerdt, “It’s such a difficult thing, it’s such a dangerous thing that there’s always a fairly uncomfortable large chance that something could go wrong.”
Spectators of the event’s livestream waited and watched with bated breath to hear a response from the spacecraft. It had been 6 years since the last landing and no one knew if Insight was going to make it.
Insight sent out the first signal to Earth announcing its arrival, minutes later, it repeated its direct-to-Earth “home safe” signal with a more powerful radio alert. NASA systems engineer, Rob Manninz confirmed that Insight was “in normal mode” and “is not complaining”.
A few minutes later, Insight sent earth a photo of Martian terrain and everyone knew for sure that it was a successful touch down!
The flight control room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion erupted in overjoyed applauses as Insight’s landing had been the first successful landing since 2016’s European Schiaparelli lander crashed and burned on attempt to land.
“I feel you, Mars”
The image received from Insight depicted what scientists had been hoping for – a flat surface. NASA took to the probe’s Twitter account to write, “I feel you, Mars – and soon I’ll know your heart. With this safe landing, I’m here. I’m home”. NASA soon posted another, clearer image of Mars with the caption, “There’s a quiet beauty here. Looking forward to exploring my new home”.
How exactly will Insight be exploring its new home? For the next 24 months, the probe will use seismic monitoring and underground temperature readings to give insight into the mysteries of the red planet.
In learning more about the origin of Mars, we can expect to only learn more about our own planet and other secrets of the inner solar system.
Take away points
- On 26 November 2018, just before 7:00am AEDT NASA’s spacecraft ‘Insight’ hurtled through Mars’ atmosphere at 19,785km per hour and managed to land successfully
- Insight barrelled 123km to the Martian surface in all of 6.5 minutes
- Insight’s landing has been the first successful landing since 2016’s European Schiaparelli lander crashed and burned while trying to land on Mars
- For the next 24 months, the probe will use seismic monitoring and underground temperature readings to give insights into the red planet
- We will in 2019 learn more about the real science of Mars
Lara Alexandra, Legal Assistant and Trade Mark Administrator
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Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.