NASA's InSight Lander, which landed on Mars on November 26 and hours later successfully extended its large solar systems, is already setting records.
Throughout the first day on the Red Planet, the solar-powered lander produced more electrical energy than any other Mars vehicle in one day, a mission member said.
"It's great to get our first world record." "On our very first day on Mars," said Tom Hoffman, NASA's InSight project manager for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in a statement. [NASA’s InSight Mars Lander: Amazing Landing Day Photos!]
"But even better than generating more electricity than any mission ahead of us is what it represents for our upcoming engineering tasks," Hoffman added. "The 4,588 watt-hours we produced during Sol 1
The 4,588 watt-hours that InSight generates from solar energy on its first sol or Mars day are well above the 2,806 watts. Hours generated by the NASA Curiosity Rover in one day. This rover runs on a nuclear system, a thermoelectric radioisotope generator. In third place was the solar-powered Phoenix-Lander, which generated about 1800 watt-hours on one day, according to NASA.
After sending back his first photograph of the landing site and extending his two solar arrays, each of which had two InSight has a diameter of about 7 feet (2.2 meters) and went to work to photograph his surroundings and his Finally, he was to use the robot arm, which he would then use to deploy seismometers and a heat probe, to learn something about the interior of Mars.
And the mission team members are busy inspecting the images they've received so far to learn more about InSight's Landing, a lava plain called Elysium Planitia. They found that the spacecraft is inclined by about 4 degrees in a flat, dust and sand filled crater. (This is no big deal, the lander can be tilted up to 15 degrees.) A steep slope could have compromised the spacecraft's ability to draw enough energy from its solar arrays and land near rocks The spacecraft could easily have prevented it. Both researchers opened the two arrays.
"The science team had hoped to land in a sandy area with few rocks since we chose the landing pad, so we could not be happier," Hoffman said in the statement. "There are no landing pads or runways on Mars, so running down an area that's basically a big sandpit with no big rocks should make instrument deployment easier and give our mole a great place to dig."
So far The team believes that the immediate environment has few rocks, but higher resolution images that appear later after the spacecraft clears the clear dust covers above its two cameras will provide a more coherent view of the environment. The team will use these views to plan exactly how the spacecraft will place its instruments with its mechanical arm.
"We look forward to high-resolution images to confirm this preliminary assessment," says InSight chief investigator Bruce Banerdt JPL, said in the statement. "If these few images – with dissolution-reducing dust covers – are accurate, they are good for both the use of instruments and the penetration of our underground heat flux experiment."
The 850 million dollar InSight mission is set to run one Martian year or nearly two Earth years. The data collected by the lander will help mission team members capture the inner structure of the Red Planet in unprecedented detail, NASA officials said. In turn, this information should provide important insights into the formation of rocky planets in general.