Mars landing today: What time is NASA Insight landing today?

Nov 27, 2018, 00:48
Mars landing today: What time is NASA Insight landing today?

From NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, engineers have a pretty good handle on rock abundance in the landing region, which is fairly low, so they don't expect InSight to drop on a boulder. The arrival marks the start of a two-year mission to study the heart of Mars-it will peer into the interior of the planet to provide scientists with a more detailed understanding of its crust, mantle and core.

A further three achieved orbit but failed to land. Only around 40 percent of missions sent to Mars have been successful, but InSight uses tried-and-tested technology to increase its chances of making it on to the surface in one piece.

Unlike Phoenix, NASA said it expects InSight to survive nearly two Earth years on the surface.

Alternatively you could watch the stream on NASA's Facebook Page and streamed on Twitch.

There will also be in-person viewing parties around the world.

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A full list of these events can be found on Nasa's website, here.

In October 2016, the European Space Agency lost its ExoMars Schiaparelli craft during an attempted Mars landing.

After a seven-month journey, the lander will scream through the red planet's thin atmosphere at more than 12,000 miles per hour in a live-or-die bid to settle (in one piece) onto a flat area near the equator. Any shallower, and the probe will bounce off into deep space. Any steeper and the probe will burn up.

After a detailed photo survey of the surrounding terrain near the lander and repeated rehearsals on Earth, a robot arm on InSight's upper deck will be commanded to pick up both instruments and lower them to the surface.

During this phase, InSight will experience acceleration 12 times that of the Earth's gravity.

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JPL officials noted that the spacecraft was designed with a durable heat shield that can protect it against a dust storm if necessary while landing. Then, about 15 seconds before touchdown, the InSight probe will descend at a speed of 8 feet per second, before hopefully touching down gently on the Martian surface.

InSight will fall for an additional two minutes attached to the parachute and protected by its conical shell. NASA will use radio telescopes in Green Bank, West Virginia and also in Germany to listen out for radio signals from InSight.

The InSight mission cost about $814 million, including the launch costs; France and Germany invested about $180 million.

The InSight spacecraft, which took off from California almost six months ago, finally made its landing on the surface of Mars Monday. Confirmation will be made through monitoring of InSight's radio signals by a variety of spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes.

By mapping what Mars looks like on the inside, the InSight mission could also help to explain the violent processes that shaped other rocky planets in the solar system at the same time, William "Bruce" Banerdt, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the principal investigator for InSight, said in a video statement. Because the entire landing sequence only takes six and a half minutes, the lander would already be on the ground by the time a signal from Earth arrived. Even when viewed from Earth without a telescope, Mars appears reddish in color as it hangs amid the stars - in fact, its bloody appearance inspired ancient astronomers to name the planet after the Roman god of war, according to NASA.

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