NASA sends Wall-E and Eve to Mars. But do not worry – these are not the robots of the popular Pixar animation, but two robotic mini-satellites (known as CubeSats), which the US Space Agency named after them Newsweek .
The satellites are part of NASA's two-year InSight mission, which launches on May 5, and is a very special and unique one right now as it hosts celebrity guests.
If you do not have the heart of the InSight mission yet, the first thing you need to know is that it's full of premieres. This is the very first mission that will take a look below the surface of Mars and examine the deep structure of the planet with its temperature and tectonic activity.
InSight (short for Interior Exploration with seismic surveys, geodesy and heat transport) is actually looking for Marsquakes (yes, there is such a thing!) And will be the first NASA mission to have a seismometer since Apollo moon landings Tech Radar reports
InSight is scheduled to launch on a launch vehicle of the Atlas V 401
???? Days and counting until I float in space! My mission is unique, I am the first space robot to thoroughly explore the "inner space" of #Mars : its crust, its mantle, and its core. Introduction is expected #CincoDeMayo ~ 4 pm PT. https://t.co/nCryBG5VlL pic.twitter.com/JMVBW6ZWL4
– NASAInSight (@NASAInSight) April 24, 2018
The Wall E and Eve satellites hunt a ride on the gigantic Atlas V – one of the biggest rockets of all, Tech Radar notes – but they do their own thing as soon as they reach the Red Planet. Your mission is to become a relay messenger and stay abreast of the InSight Mars landing (scheduled for November 26) and mission progress. But they really have to prove that CubeSats are ready to go beyond the earth.
The twin mini-satellites, officially called Mars-Cube-One or MarCO, are about the size of a briefcase and will be the
"These are our scouts," said Andy Klesh, MarCO chief engineer of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology, in a statement.
And we keep our fingers crossed that they make it safe to Mars, considering that Wall-E and Eve, like all true trailblazers do, have to brave extreme radiation conditions that no other CubeSats had before.
Nonsense, a waste of time, money, and revenue: http://t.co/wYHHp2PspM
– Sam Carpenter (@ SamCarp48) April 24, 2018
After her 206-day journey to Red planet, the Wall-E and Eva CubeSats can "stretch their legs" with the aid of a pressurized gas system To observe this process, one must observe and steer the InSight lander.
This compressed gas is very similar to that of fire extinguishers, which is why NASA had the idea of naming the satellites after the Wall-E movie (in the animation, Wall-E dances with a fire extinguisher in space) , And – you guessed it – they will be the first CubeSats to break this mode of transportation, as everyone else uses the electromagnetic steering to move.
"CubeSats needed the intense radiation of a trip to Deep Space or use propulsion to show their way towards Mars, we hope to pave the way," Klesh said in the press release JPL ,
If anyone keeps track, there are three premieres for the mission InSight and two premieres for Wall-E and Eva CubeSats. Pretty impressive
Once in Mars, the InSight lander will be deployed in the Elysium Planitia region, just 373 miles from Gale Crater, where the Curiosity Rover has been traveling for six years. And this is exactly where it will stay for a long time after the 26-month mission, because it only has to stay in one place to be able to read the "vital signs" of Mars accurately.