04 Dec Mars revealed. Click to keep reading…
If you’ve been wondering what NASA has been up to, it turns out they have been busy trying to get a lander to Mars. The InSight spacecraft survived a descent through Mars’ atmosphere, and landed on the surface on November 26, 2018. NASA was able to confirm the landing by using two small satellites that accompanied the lander. The satellites relayed InSight’s signal to Earth, and also supplied the first picture of the terrain where the lander will place its two instruments.
InSight is designed to explore the core of Mars using a seismometer and a heat probe that will be placed on the surface by a robotic arm. It will take months for scientists to choose the spot where the instruments will be placed. A JPL scientist, Matthew Golombek, remarked “It’s pretty simple. We don’t want a rock underneath. We don’t want a slope that is too steep. We don’t want underdense material for it to sink into.”
The seismometer will catch rumbles of earthquakes, which will help explain the planet’s interior. The heat probe will be placed after the seismometer, and will measure how much heat is escaping from the planet and how quickly, which will help illuminate the last volcanic activity on the planet.
The two-year primary mission is designed to reveal the dimensions and composition of the martian interior, and in turn – the story of its creation.