NASA’s ‘InSight’ Craft Proudly Lands On Mars After ‘Seven Minutes Of Terror’
By Yoon Sann Wong, 27 Nov 2018
The NASA ‘InSight’ team reacts after receiving confirmation that the spacecraft successfully touched down on the surface of Mars, inside the Mission Support Area at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Image by NASA/B. Ingalls via NASA Newsroom
While SpaceX CEO Elon Musk contemplates moving to Mars despite its high risks and “good chance of death,” NASA’s ‘InSight’ spacecraft has successfully landed on the Red Planet as of 26 November.
After a seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) expedition from Earth, ‘InSight’ broke through the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 miles per hour (19,800 kilometers per hour) and survived what NASA dubs “seven minutes of terror” to decelerate to five miles per hour for a good landing.
Shortly after its touchdown, ‘InSight’ delivered its first photo of Mars back to NASA, indicating the spacecraft’s safe landing.
📸 Wish you were here! @NASAInSight sent home its first photo after #MarsLanding:— NASA (@NASA) November 26, 2018
InSight’s view is a flat, smooth expanse called Elysium Planitia, but its workspace is below the surface, where it will study Mars’ deep interior. pic.twitter.com/3EU70jXQJw
Rob Grover, who spearheaded the team managing the craft’s landing, explained why engineers call the landing “seven minutes of terror.” Since the team can’t “joystick the landing,” NASA had to depend on pre-programmed commands to execute the descent. Over the years, the team trialed its plans, learned from other landings on Mars, and took into consideration all the conditions Mars could potentially throw at the team.
The two-year mission for ‘InSight’ includes studying Mars’ deep interiors to discover how planets with rocky surfaces, such as Earth and the moon, were formed.
New York Times Science has created a neat augmented reality video that helps you discover more about the spacecraft and its journey. Check it out below.
What an accomplishment. @NASAInSight marks the eighth time in human history we have successfully landed on Mars.— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) November 26, 2018
The best of @NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon. https://t.co/7xPjzbqyF1 #MarsLanding pic.twitter.com/Yh3kBufHou
What was your reaction to today’s #MarsLanding? 🚀— NASA (@NASA) November 27, 2018
STEP 1: Reply with a GIF or photo of your reaction
STEP 2: See how others reacted by taking a look at this @Twitter moment: https://t.co/39T6BFwgNj pic.twitter.com/6YULrFsiEs
Have you ever seen a spacecraft spread its solar wings? @NASAInSight will need to perform the critical task of deploying its solar arrays to power the mission. We expect to get data confirmation this evening. About the #MarsLanding milestones: https://t.co/vnmkKY2MUs pic.twitter.com/3Wx1mvRFvD— NASA (@NASA) November 27, 2018
[via NBC News and NASA Newsroom, main image via NASA Newsroom]
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