It’s been six months since the launch for NASA’s InSight on May 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Mars lander finally made its way to its new home in style Monday.
A successful landing on the red planet as it begins its two year scientific journey into uncovering the secrets on Mars.
“You think about a world, you think about the landscape, you think about the weather and that’s all really important for us surface dwellers, but all that depends on whats going on deep in the planet,” Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator, says.
It’s never an easy task landing into the unforgiving environment on Mars, but luckily NASA has done it before.
“We call it the seven minutes of terror because everything has to go right, and so we test the heck out of the space craft we analyze all the corners of a box to make sure it goes successfully,” says Tim Linn, Lockheed Martin Landing manager.
And successful it was Monday afternoon.
InSight went from 12,500 mph to 5 mph in those seven minutes.
Now on Mars, the 3200 solar cells will power the lander, deploy its siesmometer, probe 16 feet into the red planet which will take more than a month and then we will finally see the data come through after the new year.
“There’s heat coming from the core and that’s what we’re trying to measure, the heat is still coming from the core which tells us how active Mars still is,” Tom Hoffman, InSight project manage, says.
The probe will measure heat flow teaching us about Martian Volcanoes and the core. Mars is also a time machine, unlike the earth where tectonic activity has erased the footprints of our early history.
The secrets of our early history our locked inside, waiting for InSight to discover.
“So this is a big day for us. A lot of hard work over many years and seven months of space travel come to fruition in these six and a half minutes. So we’re very excited about it,” says Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s chief administrator.
Now that InSight has landed safely on Mars the scientists are eager to receive the wealth of information it will bring in the coming months.
NASA will launch Mars 2020 in two years, a rover which will specifically be looking for signs of life on the red planet.