Newest Rover Landing on Mars Since 2012

Aanya Lall

Last week, on November 26, was the first time since 2012 that a rover has attempted to land on Mars, near the martian equator. At 11:54 AM, this SUV sized rover named the InSight, tried to land by lava plain near the martian equator. Costing a whopping $814 million dollars, the Insight, at 11:52 successfully landed after flying around in space for the last six months on an uneventful journey. On this descent, the InSight will pivot and plunge toward the surface through the atmosphere going through temperatures of up to 1500°C.

 

The InSight was accompanied by two additional briefcase-sized spacecrafts called Mars Cube Ones (MarCo). These MarCo spacecrafts will be able to relay the InSight’s signal to earth only 10 seconds after landing. As well, these spacecrafts are able to send a picture almost instantly to earth showing its surroundings on Mars.  

 

NASA scientists chose the InSights landing zone specifically because it is dull in looks. They chose this because the scientists are more interested in discovering what happens under the surface of Mars rather than at the surface. Rocks on the surface of Mars can complicate the investigation, as the seismometer (an instrument that measures and records details of earthquakes, such as force and duration) will be placed on the ground. Having a rockier terrain will be much more difficult for it to function properly. Once the seismometer lands on the ground, it will have the opportunity to analyze the martian interior using the 50 to 100 marsquakes that it might see over its 2-year primary mission, which will hopefully lead to the explanation of how Mars was created.

Annie Oatman ’20

 

Resources:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/nasa-lander-will-plunge-mars-today-harrowing-6-minute-descent

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