NASA’s InSight Lands on Mars

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NASA’s InSight Lands on Mars

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/05/atlas-v-first-interplanetary-west-coast-launch-insight-mars/

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/05/atlas-v-first-interplanetary-west-coast-launch-insight-mars/

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/05/atlas-v-first-interplanetary-west-coast-launch-insight-mars/

Clara Steer, staff

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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/05/atlas-v-first-interplanetary-west-coast-launch-insight-mars/ 
Imagine one day leaving Earth to go live on Mars. Crazy, right? This is a possible future that has already begun to be explored and tested by space-explorers and scientists. They are learning as much as possible about the planet so as to determine how inhabitable it is, and how likely it is that we could inhabit it. This process has already begun: NASA launched their lander, InSight, or Interior Explorations using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat transport, which is their eighth lander that successfully landed on Mars. While the other landers launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, InSight was the first lander to launch from the West Coast. It is also the first lander NASA has sent to Mars with the purpose of studying the deep interior of the planet, rather than the surface. It is designed to do this by recording marsquakes – earthquakes on Mars. After a particularly horrifying seven minutes, the rover landed on the planets surface. This is all part of NASA’s Discovery Program to learn as much as they can about the Red Planet using the 8 rovers they currently have stationed there.

After about six and a half months of traveling through space, InSight reached the top part of Mars’ atmosphere and began its risky descent. This multi-step procedure was risky and dangerous, given it depended on the success of every single step. The entire landing took place without any input from the control center back on Earth.

The “seven minutes of terror” – their new nickname – began as soon as InSight first touched Mars’ atmosphere at around 3 pm ET on Monday, November 26th. After this, it began to descend and slow down, going from over 12,000 mph to a complete stop in a matter of seven minutes. The “seven minutes of terror” was particularly terrifying because of the years of work that was put into this landing. One small error or malfunction could have ruined everything, making hundreds of people’s hard work worthless.

The InSight landing was a huge achievement for NASA and the space-exploring community. It marked a significant advance in the use of technology and modern science, math, and engineering. With this new rover, NASA space analysts will be able to learn a lot more about our neighboring planet. We have barely scratched the surface of what this new lander can truly accomplish.

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