Sci-tech

NASA Looking Toward Manned Mission To Mars 'Sometime In The 2030s'

NASA Looking Toward Manned Mission To Mars 'Sometime In The 2030s'

The fun kicks off today at 14:40 EST, when the spacecraft separates from the cruise stage that has carried it to Mars. Having launched on May 5, 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California as it enters the atmosphere of Mars, InSight will be traveling at 14,100 miles per hour. Thus without MarCO, nervous engineers on Earth could be faced with over an hour's wait for news from InSight. InSight had to slow down from 12,300 miles per hour as it entered the top of the Martian atmosphere.

"Mars is hard", said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for the science mission directorate, on Sunday.

Mars landing: How and when to watch NASA InSight Mars "7 minutes of terror" Lander LIVE (Pic: NASA) What is the InSight Mars Lander? The Rover is expected to land on Mars Feb. 18, 2021.

If successful, the entry, descent and landing of the Mars InSight - created to be the first mission to listen to the interior of another planet and reveal how rocky planets are formed - will add another success to Nasa's record when it comes to sending spacecraft to Mars.

Now, it's important to note that we won't actually get a live video feed from the InSight lander itself, and neither will NASA's engineers and controllers.

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"We've spent years testing our plans, learning from other Mars landings and studying all the conditions Mars can throw at us", said Rob Grover, InSight's entry, descent and landing (EDL) lead, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in a recent statement. These two tiny CubeSats, each measuring under 15 inches (37 centimeters) along their longest side, will act as InSight's personal messengers, proving that CubeSats can fill this vital communications gap on future missions to Mars (and other planets).

After a six-month voyage from Earth, NASA's InSight Mars lander reached the thin Martian atmosphere Monday afternoon to begin a nail-biting six-and-a-half-minute descent to the surface. It's also taking over NY with the landing set to be shown on big screens in Times Square.

"To start out with we're behind", Marinan says, "but by the time InSight lands we will be beyond Mars".

As the probe descended, the air molecules that make up the Martian atmosphere struck the heat shield, causing the shield to heat up and the craft to slow down. After getting that radar signal, it will separate from the remaining shell and parachute, firing its descent engines known as retrorockets to help slow it down even more. InSight should technically land and 2:54PM, but it won't send a confirmation back until around 3:01PM. Then, it will touch down at 2:54 pm ET.

After all, if we are going to send humans to Mars, we're going to need to know much more about what its surface is like. and how bad those Marsquakes are.

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"We can't joystick the landing, so we have to rely on the commands we pre-program into the spacecraft".

The InSight mission cost about $814 million, including the launch costs; France and Germany invested about $180 million.

The landing is due to take place at noon Pacific time and will be viewable on NASA's website. "The seismometer is what allows us to see deep into the planet, to have insight into the planet, and it uses the seismic waves that are generated by marsquakes". NASA's Curiosity rover, which arrived in 2012, is still on the move on Mars.

The area where InSight is landing is called Elysium Planitia, a particularly flat area of Mars where hazardous loose rocks are absent. Because it won't be roving over the surface, the landing site was an important determination.

Angela Merkel vows to prevent 'disorderly withdrawal' of United Kingdom from EU
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