NASA’s InSight Poised on Historical Data Collection

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, has been euphoric since Insight safely landed on the Red Planet 15 Sols ago, Monday, November 26, beginning what will be the most concentrated study of the planet to date.


Since the initial landing NASA has continued to alert the public, like a new parent, on each and every development InSight is performing. We heard wind, Mars wind. While some are passé about hearing actual wind from MARS, the fact remains is that this solar operated data collecting machine is actually sending back weather related data.


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"Some science data collection begins the first week after landing. RISE, the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment, begins collecting data a few days after landing. The lander will take pictures of the instrument deployment area, and start monitoring the weather and surface temperature at its new home. But since the heat probe and seismometer need to be on the surface of Mars to collect data, they have to wait a few more weeks before they can be fully deployed," NASA says.

InSight has discovered itself, so it speak and send back images, selfies, of its parts with its solar panels extended. The image shows shadows which indicate Mars spins on an axis, meaning like earth when it is day in one location it is night in the other. Mars also revolves around the sun which takes approximately 1.88 years or nearly two years or once every 686.93 earth days. Mars travels 56,979 miles per hour as it orbits the sun.

The Landing

"InSight's landing team deliberately chose a landing region in Elysium Planitia that is relatively free of rocks. Even so, the landing spot turned out even better than they hoped. The spacecraft sits in what appears to be a nearly rock-free "hollow" — a depression created by a meteor impact that later filled with sand. That should make it easier for one of InSight's instruments, the heat-flow probe, to bore down to its goal of 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface," NASA said.

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The science data collection isn't planned to begin until around February 2019, or ten weeks after landing.

What's Next
With a planned mission of 709 Sols or 728 days or nearly two years of experiments, the natural question is what's next? The mission, for the layman, is already successful. InSight survived the seven month trip and successfully landed, on time and without course adjustments, touching down in Elysium Planitia, an area of limited geography change.

"In the coming weeks, scientists and engineers will go through the painstaking process of deciding where in this workspace the spacecraft's instruments should be placed. They will then command InSight's robotic arm to carefully set the seismometer (called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS) and heat-flow probe (known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3) in the chosen locations," NASA said.

Mars Rover Makes Two Significant Discoveries

Follow this link for more information on InSight.

Image courtesy of NASA and used with permission

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