The NASA InSight spacecraft is heading towards Mars on 26 November 2018, landing on the surface of the Red Planet. Unlike the recent Mars missions involving Rover, Mars will remain InSight Place where it lands on a plateau near Mars equator called Elysium Planitia, chosen because of its flatness. NASA calls what InSight on Mars will do sedentary science . A statement issued on October 24, 201
InSight stands for Interior exploration with seismic investigations, geodesy and heat transport . Read on for five highlights of the Mars InSight mission
1. How can InSight quake measure anywhere on Mars?
Earthquakes on Earth are usually detected using seismometers. InSight has just mentioned one – SEIS (internal structure seismic experiment) – so his science team will use some creative measurements to analyze seismic waves as they happen anywhere on the planet.
SEIS will measure seismic waves of Marsquakes and meteorite strikes moving through Mars. The speed of these waves changes depending on the material through which they move, which helps scientists to find out what the inside of the planet is.
Seismic waves occur in a surprising number of tastes. Some vibrate over the surface of a planet while others bounce off their center. They also move at different speeds. Seismologists can use any type as a tool to triangulate where and when a seismic event occurred.
This means that InSight could have landed somewhere on Mars and without moving, would have collected the same kind of science
2. InSight's Seismometer Needs Calm
Seismometers are inherently sensitive. They must be isolated from "noise" to accurately measure seismic waves.
SEIS is sensitive enough to detect vibrations smaller than the width of a hydrogen atom. It will be the first seismometer on the surface of Mars that will be thousands of times more accurate than seismometers on the Viking lands.
To take advantage of this sensitivity, engineers have given SEIS a shell: a wind-and-thermal shield that InSight's arm places over the seismometer. This protective dome pushes down when the wind blows over it; A Mylar chainmail skirt keeps the wind from blowing in. It also gives SEIS a cozy place to hide from the strong temperature swings of Mars, which can cause tiny changes in the springs and electronics of the instrument.
3. InSight has a self-hitting nail
Have you ever tried to hammer a nail? Then you know it's important to hold on to it. InSight wears a nail that also needs to be held steady.
This unique instrument, called HP 3 (package heat flow and physical properties), holds a spike on a long strap. A mechanism inside the spike will knock him down to 5 meters into the ground and pull out the tether, which is embedded with thermal sensors.
At this depth, it can detect heat trapped in Mars since the formation of the planet. This heat formed the surface with volcanoes, mountain ranges and valleys. It may even have determined where rivers ran early in the history of Mars.
4. InSight can land in a safe place
Because InSight needs peace of mind – and because it can collect seismic and heat data from anywhere on the planet – it is free for the spacecraft, in the safest place to land.
InSight's team chose a location on the Equator of Mars called Elysium Planitia – as flat and boring as on Mars. This makes landing a little easier as there are fewer impacts, fewer stones to land, and plenty of sunlight to power the spacecraft. The fact that InSight does not consume much energy and should have plenty of sunlight at the equator of Mars means that it can provide much data to scientists.
5. InSight Can Measure Mars' Wiggling
InSight has two X-band antennas on its deck that form a third instrument, called the RISE (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment). Radio signals from RISE are measured over months, maybe even years, to investigate the tiny "wobble" in the planet's rotation. This shaking is a sign of whether the core of Mars is fluid or solid – a feature that could also illuminate the planet's thin magnetic field.
No detailed data has been collected on this wobble since Mars Pathfinder's three-month mission in Dakota in 1997 (although the Rover Opportunity took a few measurements in 2011 while resting and awaiting winter). Each time a stationary spacecraft sends radio signals from Mars, it can help scientists improve their measurements.
Click here for more information on Mars Insight
Conclusion: Five highlights of the Mars Insight mission to land on Mars on November 26, 2018.
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