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NASA prepares for '7 minutes of terror' on Mars


Posted on Saturday, 24 November, 2018 | Comment icon 42 comments

Can InSight make it down on to the surface of Mars ? Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
The space agency's InSight lander will be descending 80 miles through the Martian atmosphere on Monday.
Having traveled nearly 300 million miles since its launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base back in May, the ambitious spacecraft is currently on track to reach Mars on November 26th.

Actually getting the probe safely on to the Martian surface however is no easy task - it has to slow from 12,300mph to just 5mph during a make-or-break descent referred to as '7 minutes of terror'.

"Landing on Mars is hard. It takes skill, focus and years of preparation," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

"Keeping in mind our ambitious goal to eventually send humans to the surface of the Moon and then Mars, I know that our incredible science and engineering team - the only in the world to have successfully landed spacecraft on the Martian surface - will do everything they can to successfully land InSight on the Red Planet."

If InSight does survive the descent, the $1 billion lander will attempt to learn more about what lies beneath the surface of the Red Planet using an array of instruments including a burrowing temperature sensor and a seismometer designed to detect Marsquakes.

"This mission will probe the interior of another terrestrial planet, giving us an idea of the size of the core, the mantle, the crust and our ability then to compare that with the Earth," said NASA chief scientist Jim Green.

"This is of fundamental importance to understand the origin of our solar system and how it became the way it is today."


Source: NASA.gov | Comments (42)

Tags: Mars, InSight

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #33 Posted by Socks Junior on 26 November, 2018, 23:49
Jesus. Christ.  To return the nitpicking favor, before today, of the eight missions to Mars since 2010 (not just counting landings...I did say missions), three have failed (two due to the same spacecraft failure), and four have been successful. Which, to define the numbers is a 57.1% mission success rate. (If we count the joint mission as a single failure, well...that jumps to a 66.7% success rate.)  Which then improved after today. Sure, you did say landings... So the total landing success rate was 7/17, right?  Translates to a 41.2% success rate for landings.  So even the 50% success rate fo... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by Myles on 27 November, 2018, 0:00
'Nice try but you are wrong.   NASA has been very successful since 2000.  Choosing to include missions from just this century is valid, not cherry picking.
Comment icon #35 Posted by L.A.T.1961 on 27 November, 2018, 0:39
There is a difference but it's probably not due to the image. Monitors and TV panels will require there colour balance calibration properly set up to display an image accurately. I doubt the TV panel had been set up as it is only for general viewing. If you want to see what's involved calibrating a screen have a look at this link.   https://www.howtogeek.com/342756/how-to-match-colors-on-your-multiple-monitors/ 
Comment icon #36 Posted by Jon the frog on 27 November, 2018, 1:11
Waiting for some science result now ! That's cool !
Comment icon #37 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 27 November, 2018, 6:45
Yet it conviniently ignores the failed landing attempt of the Mars Polar Lander on 3rd December 1999, just 4 weeks before your chosen start time. How is that not cherry-picking?
Comment icon #38 Posted by Hammerclaw on 27 November, 2018, 8:40
A fascinating mission and I'll enjoy watching it's progress. So many things had to go right to achieve it, I'm just grateful it's there, now. NASA's InSight Mars lander captured this view of its surroundings shortly after touching down on the Red Planet on Nov. 26, 2018.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Myles on 27 November, 2018, 13:03
Ok, include that one.  NASA has still been very successful.  6 of 7.
Comment icon #40 Posted by Jon the frog on 27 November, 2018, 13:13
That's so cool! but at first glimpse seeing this picture, it remember me of an old outboard engine on a zodiac with some fishing gear laying around...lol Would be so good to have some kind of ''live feed'' on mission like that !
Comment icon #41 Posted by TaintlessMetals on 5 December, 2018, 21:52
I like how you speak in such absolutes here without asking for any further input. I have the shots I'm referencing saved so if you care to actually take a look. Go over to disclose.tv as the image size is to large to post here. It is under insight lander. 
Comment icon #42 Posted by Myles on 7 December, 2018, 15:44
It is so amazing to see clear pics of Mars.     https://www.foxnews.com/science/nasas-insight-mars-lander-reveals-stunningly-clear-pictures-of-the-red-planet


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