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[SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« dnia: Listopad 24, 2018, 07:08 »
NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
by Jeff Foust — November 21, 2018


NASA's InSight spacecraft is scheduled to land on Mars Nov. 26 to begin a mission to study the planet's interior. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

WASHINGTON — NASA’s InSight spacecraft is on track for a landing on Mars Nov. 26 on a mission to study the planet’s interior.

Scientists and project managers, speaking at a pair of briefings Nov. 21 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said there are no issues with the spacecraft, which is on course for a landing at approximately 2:54 p.m. Eastern Nov. 26 in the Elysium Planitia region of Mars just north of the planet’s equator.

Rob Grover, the entry, descent and landing (EDL) lead for the mission, said that since the latest trajectory correction maneuver by the spacecraft Nov. 18, the spacecraft appears to be within about seven kilometers of the planned landing site.

“We’re very close right now,” he said. “We may not need our last course correction maneuver.” He said the project will decide by the end of the day Nov. 23 whether that maneuver, which would take place Nov. 25, is needed.

Conditions at the landing site appear to be ideal for landing, he noted. The global dust storm that swept across the planet in June, shutting off contact with the Opportunity Mars rover, has long since faded, and there’s been no signs of storms in the vicinity of the landing site. “We’re expecting a very plain day on Mars for the landing, and we’re very happy about that,” he said.

The Lockheed Martin-built spacecraft will slow down from 5.5 kilometers per second at the beginning of the EDL phase, about 125 kilometers high, to zero in 6.5 minutes, using a combination of a heat shield, parachute and thrusters. The spacecraft will deploy its solar arrays starting 16 minutes after landing, a delay intended to allow dust kicked up by the landing to settle, with the deployment itself taking an additional 16 minutes.

NASA hopes to get realtime telemetry of the landing from a pair of cubesats, called Mars Cube One (MarCO), that launched as secondary payloads with InSight in May and will fly past Mars during the landing. The MarCO cubesats, intended primarily as technology demonstrations, will be able to relay the telemetry from InSight and broadcast it back to Earth.

In addition, InSight itself will broadcast a “beep” about seven minutes after landing, a signal indicating that it is on the surface. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be able to provide data with a brief delay, including a first image from the surface taken by the lander. Confirmation that the lander’s solar panels are deployed, though, won’t come until about five and a half hours after landing, after an overhead pass from the Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Once on the surface, InSight will deploy its two major instruments, a French-built seismometer and a German-built heat probe that will burrow several meters into the surface. Project scientists said that process, including scouting the best locations on the ground by the lander to place the instruments, will take several months.

“InSight is kind of a laid-back, slow-motion mission,” said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator for InSight at JPL. “It’s going to take us probably two to three months, at least, to get our instruments down.” He estimated it would be “early next spring” before those principal instruments started returning data.

One of those instruments, the seismometer, suffered development problems that forced the French space agency CNES to redesign it, pushing back InSight’s launch from March 2016 to this May. “At the beginning it was just impossible to build,” said Philippe Lognonné, project manager for the instrument at CNES. “But we did it with the help of our partners.”

With those instruments in place, scientists hope to learn more about the interior of Mars and compare it with other terrestrial planets, including the Earth. “The number one question we want to answer is what’s the structure and the energetics of the interior of Mars,” Banerdt said. That includes the size and density of the planet’s core, the thickness of the planet’s crust and the structure of the mantle.

“I’ve personally have been waiting for this information for decades,” said Sue Smrekar, deputy principal investigator for InSight at JPL, “and I’m super excited to get this lander on the ground and start taking this data.”

Source: NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Listopad 25, 2018, 22:42 »
InSight to perform final maneuver before landing
by Jeff Foust — November 25, 2018 [Spacenews]


NASA's InSight spacecraft will perform a final trajectory correction maneuver less than a day before landing on Mars to slightly adjust the location of its landing site. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s InSight spacecraft will perform a final maneuver less than 24 hours before its scheduled landing to slightly adjust the location of its landing site.

During a briefing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory here Nov. 25, project leaders said they decided to carry out a sixth and final trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) that is part of the cruise phase of the mission. Managers had suggested at a briefing Nov. 21 that, based on the accuracy of the trajectory at that time, they might skip that final maneuver.

Tom Hoffman, project manager for InSight, said at the briefing that after the fifth TCM Nov. 18, the center of the landing ellipse, representing the region on the planet the spacecraft would land in, was off its target by about 18 kilometers. That difference was enough for him and other mission officials, at a meeting a few hours before the briefing, to decide to carry out the final maneuver.

“We want to avoid the area up here,” he said, referring to a region with rougher terrain near the edge of the current landing ellipse. “That’s not a great area to land.”

That maneuver, known as TCM-6 and taking place about 22 hours before the 2:54 p.m. Eastern Nov. 26 landing, will change the spacecraft’s velocity by just a few centimeters per second. “Hopefully within a few hours after that we’re going to know exactly where we’re landing,” he said. “Things should be in good shape.”

The maneuver, he said, is intended to move the center of the landing ellipse back to the target, marked on images with a red X, and avoid the undesirable terrain, a decision that came after what Hoffman called a “very exciting” meeting earlier in the day.

“We listened to all the different inputs and the final decision was to go ahead and do the TCM and move ourselves back to that red X,” he said, “and be exactly where we really want to land from both a safety standpoint as well as making sure we have the right location for our science instruments.”

Officials said that, other than the decision to perform the final maneuver, there are no issues with the spacecraft, formally known as Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. The mission, with a total cost including international contributions of nearly $1 billion, is designed to study the composition and structure of the interior of Mars using a seismometer and heat flow probe.

Once on the surface, InSight will deploy those two instruments over the next few months, collecting data on a prime mission scheduled to last two years. “It feels like a climax,” said Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator of InSight at JPL, of the landing, “but it’s actually the beginning.”

He and others involved with the mission expressed a mix of confidence that the spacecraft, based on the Phoenix Mars Lander that successfully landed on Mars a decade ago, would make to the surface, as well as nervousness as the landing approaches. “I’m actually really confident, personally, that we’re going to land safely tomorrow,” Banerdt said. “It doesn’t mean I’m not nervous.”

“We recognize that we never take Mars for granted,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science. “Mars is hard.”

Hoffman noted he spent the Thanksgiving holiday with family, including three young grandsons who, when excited, run around and yell. “Inside of me right now I’m just about the same,” he said. As soon as he receives word of a successful landing, he said, “I’m going to unleash my inner four-year-old.”

Source: InSight to perform final maneuver before landing

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 11:25 »
Amerykańska sonda InSight wylądowała na Marsie
27.11.2018 PAP - Nauka w Polsce, Krzysztof Czart


Artystyczna wizja lądownika InSight na powierzchni Marsa. Źródło: NASA/JPL-Caltech

W poniedziałek wieczorem polskiego czasu na powierzchni Marsa wylądował bezzałogowy próbnik InSight wysłany przez NASA. Celem misji jest poznanie własności wnętrza Czerwonej Planety. Na pokładzie sondy znajduje się polskie urządzenie.

Lądownik o nazwie Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, w skrócie InSight, udanie ukończył manewr lądowania 26 listopada o godz. 20:53 polskiego czasu. Tym samym, po trwającej od 5 maja podróży, rozpoczyna się dwuletni okres badań na powierzchni planety.

"Z sukcesem wylądowaliśmy na Marsie po raz osiemnasty w historii ludzkości" - powiedział Jim Bridenstine, kierujący amerykańską agencją kosmiczną NASA.

Manewr lądowania obejmował użycie hamujących silników rakietowych oraz spadochronu do spowolnienia sondy, a na koniec część wstrząsu od dotknięcia gruntu zamortyzowały specjalne nogi.

"InSight będzie badać wnętrze Marsa i dostarczy cennych informacji w ramach przygotowań do wysłania astronautów na Księżyc, a później na Marsa. Ten wyczyn pokazuje pomysłowość Stanów Zjednoczonych i naszych międzynarodowych partnerów, jest także świadectwem poświęcenia i wytrwałości naszego zespołu. Najlepsze czasy dla NASA dopiero nadchodzą" - dodał szef amerykańskiej agencji kosmicznej.

Sygnał od lądownika został przekazany do centrum kontroli lotu w NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) w Pasadenie poprzez dwa miniaturowe satelity Mars Cube One (MarCO). To dodatkowy, eksperymentalny aspekt misji. NASA przetestowała, jak sprawdzą się niewielkie satelity z kategorii CubeSat (podobne wielkością do polskich studenckich satelitów PW-Sat i PWS-Sat2). Były one wystrzelone tą samą rakietą, co sonda InSight. Są to pierwsze satelity z serii CubeSat, które wysłano w misję międzyplanetarną. Po przeprowadzeniu eksperymentów komunikacyjnych i związanych z lotem, dwa miniaturowe satelity MarCO ustawiły się w pozycjach dogodnych do transmisji sygnału od lądownika InSight podczas jego wejścia w atmosferę i lądowania.

Lądownik InSight wszedł w marsjańską atmosferę z prędkością 19800 km/h. Sekwencja lądowania trwała sześć i pół minuty. W tym czasie sonda autonomicznie wykonała kilkadziesiąt operacji. Wygląda na to, że wszystko poszło zgodnie z planem, gdyż NASA otrzymała sygnał potwierdzający dotknięcie powierzchni Marsa.

Zaraz po lądowaniu na Ziemię dotarło także pierwsze zdjęcie z lądownika. Co prawda niezbyt spektakularne i dość zamazane, gdyż wykonane przez osłonę przed pyłem, ale potwierdzające, że sonda wylądowała i jest sprawna. Kolejne przesłane zdjęcia są już zdecydowanie wyraźniejsze.

Już minutę po dotknięciu gruntu rozpoczęła się kolejna procedura. Jedną z pierwszych czynności lądownika było rozłożenie paneli baterii słonecznych. Potwierdzenie, czy nastąpiło to poprawnie zostanie przekazane przez sondę orbitalną Mars Odyssey, która krąży wokół Marsa od kilkunastu lat.

Zbieranie danych naukowych ma się rozpocząć w ciągu pierwszego tygodnia od lądowania. Najpierw zespół kontroli misji skupi się na rozmieszczeniu przyrządów posiadanych przez lądownik. W szczególności rozłożone zostanie 1,8 metrowe ramię, aby mogło wykonać panoramę okolicy.

Według planów NASA sonda InSight ma działać przez jeden marsjański rok i 40 dni, czyli do 24 listopada 2020 roku. Z kolei misja minisatelitów MarCO została ukończona po lądowaniu InSight.

„To wielki krok dla naszych robotycznych odkrywców wielkości walizki. Myślę, że CubeSaty mają wielką przyszłość poza orbitą okołoziemską, a zespół MarCO jest szczęśliwy, że przetarł ku temu szlak" - powiedział Joel Krajewski z JPL, kierownik projektu MarCO.

Projekt InSight prowadzony jest przez NASA we współpracy z partnerami europejskimi, w szczególności z Francji i Niemiec. Polska ma także swój udział – urządzenie skonstruowane przez firmę Astronika we współpracy z ośrodkami badawczymi i innymi firmami pełni istotną rolę w misji. Jest to mechanizm penetratora gruntu, a wiercenie na głębokość do 5 metrów pod powierzchnię Marsa to kluczowy element projektu InSight. Będzie to 15 razy głębiej niż wiercenia dokonywane przez wcześniejsze sondy.

Podstawowym celem projektu InSight jest poznanie budowy wewnętrznej Marsa. To pogłębi naszą wiedzę o planetach skalistych, dzięki czemu lepiej będziemy rozumieli procesy powstawania i ewolucji planet w Układzie Słonecznym, a także planet krążących wokół innych gwiazd.

Własności wewnętrznych warstw planety (skorupy, płaszcza, jądra) InSight ma próbować poznać także dzięki sejsmometrowi, który umieści na powierzchni. Dzięki analizie tego, jak rozchodzą się fale sejsmiczne, naukowcy będą próbowali odkryć zagadki wnętrza Czerwonej Planety. Być może uda się także zmierzyć, jak często na Marsa spadają meteoryty.

Źródło: Amerykańska sonda InSight wylądowała na Marsie
« Ostatnia zmiana: Listopad 27, 2018, 12:13 wysłana przez Orionid »

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 11:49 »
W artykule Nauka w Polsce jest błąd. Wczorajsze lądowanie było ósmym a nie osiemnastym udanym lądowaniem na Marsie!  :)

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 12:01 »
NASA's InSight Spacecraft Safely Lands on Mars After 'Seven Minutes of Terror'
By Paul Scott Anderson, on November 26th, 2018 [AmericaSpace]


The first image from InSight on Mars, showing dust on the lens cover and the horizon in the distance. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s InSight spacecraft has successfully landed on Mars, the space agency reported today. The lander touched down at 11:52:59 a.m. PST (2:52:59 p.m. EST). This is the first landing in six years, after the Curiosity rover landed in 2012. InSight, however, is not a rover – instead it will remain in one place and use its instruments to “peer down” into the deep Martian subsurface to study the planet’s origins and evolution.

“Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “InSight will study the interior of Mars and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners, and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.”

The first image from the surface has already been sent back, showing dust on the lens cover (which will be removed later) and the horizon in the distance. More and better images will follow soon.

InSight – which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport – used rockets and a parachute to descend to the surface. Landing on Mars is not easy, however, and that goes for InSight as well. A lot of things could go wrong during the approximately seven minutes it takes a spacecraft to descend through the atmosphere – known as the “seven minutes of terror.”

“There’s a reason engineers call landing on Mars ‘seven minutes of terror,’” said Rob Grover, InSight’s entry, descent and landing (EDL) lead, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “We can’t joystick the landing, so we have to rely on the commands we pre-program into the spacecraft. We’ve spent years testing our plans, learning from other Mars landings and studying all the conditions Mars can throw at us.”


Kris Bruvold (left) and Sandy Krasner react after receiving confirmation that the Mars InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars. Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA


Celebration in Mission Control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California on Nov. 26, 2018, when the InSight lander has touched down on Mars! Photo Credit: NASA TV

“We’ve studied Mars from orbit and from the surface since 1965, learning about its weather, atmosphere, geology and surface chemistry,” said Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “Now we finally will explore inside Mars and deepen our understanding of our terrestrial neighbor as NASA prepares to send human explorers deeper into the Solar System.”

The landing completes a seven-month-long journey, during which InSight traveled 301,223,981 miles (484,773,006 kilometers) at a top speed of 6,200 mph (10,000 kph). InSight landed in a flat region in Elysium Planitia, a broad volcanic plain. The flat, albeit rather boring, terrain is necessary for the spacecraft to be able to use its radar and other instruments to look below the surface and measure the geological “heartbeat” of Mars. InSight will search for signs of current geological activity, such as volcanic activity or marsquakes, deep below the surface.

Now that the landing itself was a success, we will have to wait a few more hours until we know if the solar panels deployed properly.

“We are solar-powered, so getting the arrays out and operating is a big deal,” said Tom Hoffman at JPL. “With the arrays providing the energy we need to start the cool science operations, we are well on our way to thoroughly investigate what’s inside of Mars for the very first time.”

Just before InSight reached the top of the Martian atmosphere, it conducted a last trajectory correction maneuver to steer the spacecraft toward its entry location over Mars.


A diagram of NASA’s InSight Mars lander and its science instruments to look inside the Red Planet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Adrian Mann/Tobias Roetsch/Future Plc


NASA’s InSight lander will remain in one place and use its instruments to examine the deep interior of Mars, the first mission to do so. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


The landing ellipse region in Elysium Planitia that InSight landed in. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“While most of the country was enjoying Thanksgiving with their family and friends, the InSight team was busy making the final preparations for Monday’s landing,” said Hoffman. “Landing on Mars is difficult and takes a lot of personal sacrifices, such as missing the traditional Thanksgiving, but making InSight successful is well worth the extraordinary effort.”

“We hit the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph (19,800 kilometers per hour), and the whole sequence to touching down on the surface took only six-and-a-half minutes. During that short span of time, InSight had to autonomously perform dozens of operations and do them flawlessly — and by all indications that is exactly what our spacecraft did.”

Scientists will have to wait two to three months now for InSight’s robotic arm to set up the mission’s instruments on the surface, before the science observations can begin. After the final position of each instrument is decided, it will take several weeks to carefully lift each one and calibrate their measurements. In the meantime, engineers will monitor the environment and photograph the terrain around the lander.

“It’s taken more than a decade to bring InSight from a concept to a spacecraft approaching Mars – and even longer since I was first inspired to try to undertake this kind of mission,” said Bruce Banerdt of JPL, InSight’s principal investigator. “But even after landing, we’ll need to be patient for the science to begin.”

NASA’s twin MarCO spacecraft – two small CubeSats that accompanied InSight – also took a photo during the approach to Mars. The photo, from MarCO-B, shows portions of the spacecraft’s thermal blanket, high-gain antenna feed and high-gain antenna, with Mars in the distance as a small dot. The MarCOs are the first CubeSats to reach deep space, and are the first CubeSats to photograph Mars. Each CubeSat is only about the size of a briefcase. MarCO-B was approximately 310,000 miles (500,000 kilometers) away from Mars at the time.


Image taken by the MarCO-B CubeSat during approach to Mars, showing portions of the spacecraft’s thermal blanket, high-gain antenna feed and high-gain antenna, with Mars in the distance as a small dot. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“MarCO is an experimental capability that has been added to the InSight mission, but is not needed for mission success,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “MarCO will fly independently to Mars.”

InSight’s mission is a unique one, to learn more about what is inside Mars instead of just what is on the surface; it will look at the planet’s “vital signs”: “pulse” (seismology), “temperature” (heat flow probe) and “reflexes” (precision tracking). InSight will study the size, thickness, density and overall structure of Mars’ core, mantle and crust, as well as the rate at which heat escapes from the planet’s interior. This will help answer long-standing questions and provide more clues as to how Mars has changed over time, from a once wetter world to the cold, mostly dry desert we see today.

“Every Mars landing is daunting, but now with InSight safely on the surface we get to do a unique kind of science on Mars,” said JPL director Michael Watkins. “The experimental MarCO CubeSats have also opened a new door to smaller planetary spacecraft. The success of these two unique missions is a tribute to the hundreds of talented engineers and scientists who put their genius and labor into making this a great day.”

InSight was launched on May 5, 2018, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V “401” rocket from Vandenberg AFB, California.

More information about InSight is on the mission website.

Source: NASA's InSight Spacecraft Safely Lands on Mars After 'Seven Minutes of Terror'

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #5 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 12:13 »
W artykule Nauka w Polsce jest błąd. Wczorajsze lądowanie było ósmym a nie osiemnastym udanym lądowaniem na Marsie!  :)
Tym większy, że  było to błędne tłumaczenie słów samego Administratora NASA.

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #6 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 12:13 »
Kiedy się dowiemy gdzie dokładnie wylądował InSight?

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #7 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 12:24 »
Eksperci: lądowanie na Marsie to pełen sukces misji InSight
27.11.2018 Karolina Duszczyk [PAP - Nauka w Polsce]


Jedno z pierwszych zdjęć przesłanych przez marsjański lądownik InSight. Źródło: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Lądowanie na Marsie to pełen sukces misji InSight; sondzie raczej nic już nie grozi - ocenili planetolodzy z Centrum Badań Kosmicznych (CBK PAN). Naukowcy czekają teraz na obudzenie się przyrządów i sygnał, że są sprawne.

Amerykańska sonda InSight, wystrzelona z Bazy Sił Powietrznych Vandenberg (USA) w maju 2018 r., po trwającej sześć miesięcy podróży, wylądowała w poniedziałek na Czerwonej Planecie. Lądownik InSight osiadł na powierzchni Marsa ok. godz. 20:40 czasu środkowoeuropejskiego. Na pierwszy sygnał trzeba było czekać około ośmiu minut - tyle czasu trwa przesłanie informacji z Marsa na Ziemię. Dochodzące po kolei dane potwierdziły sukces misji na jej kluczowym etapie – w fazie wejścia w atmosferę i lądowania.

Na tym etapie wiele manewrów mogło się nie udać - zwrócił uwagę w rozmowie z PAP dr Piotr Witek z Zakładu Dynamiki Układu Słonecznego i Planetologii Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN.

"Wejście w atmosferę z prędkością ponaddźwiękową pod złym kątem może doprowadzić do uszkodzenia osłony cieplnej i spłonięcia. Sonda, zamiast wejść w atmosferę i wylądować, może też odbić się od niej jak ciśnięta do wody +kaczka+ z kamienia. Przejście przez atmosferę odbywa się bez kontroli z Ziemi. Również to, co dzieje się potem, musi być zaprogramowane. Trzeba ustawić lądownik tak, aby nie zderzył się z elementami odrzucanymi - najpierw osłoną termiczną, potem tylną tarczą, którą ciągnął spadochron” – wylicza dr Witek.

Naukowiec wspomina incydent, który zdarzył się na Ziemi w europejskim demonstratorze lądowania, kiedy nie zadziałały odrzutowe silniki hamujące lądownika. Akcelerometr kontrolujący przyspieszenie przesłał do sondy informację, że już wylądował - choć ten wciąż znajdował się wysoko nad powierzchnią ziemi. W efekcie silniki zostały wyłączone i sonda testowa upadła. Nic podobnego nie stało się z InSightem. W ostatniej fazie lądowania wykorzystano 12 silników, które sprawiły, że lądownik miękko osiadł na powierzchni.

"Sonda wylądowała i zadziałała. Na pierwszym zdjęciu z pokrytej pyłem kamery zobaczyliśmy horyzont Marsa. Czekamy na dalsze szczegóły. Nasz +Kret+ wbije się dopiero w styczniu, jednak instrumenty zaraportują gotowość w ciągu najbliższych kilku dni" - przypomniała dr Natalia Zalewska z tego samego zakładu.

Sondzie prawdopodobnie już nic nie grozi. Zdaniem badaczy z Zakładu Dynamiki Układu Słonecznego i Planetologii CBK PAN trudności mogłyby sprawić burze pyłowe. Czasem zmniejszają one dopływ światła do paneli słonecznych, a więc i prądu do urządzeń.

"Doświadczenie pokazuje, że Mars jedną ręką zabiera, a drugą daje. Łaziki też są zasilane z baterii słonecznych i mają problemy podczas burz, ale przechodzące nad nimi wiry pyłowe zabierały czasem pył, który osiadł na kamerach urządzeń. Mieliśmy dzięki temu lepszy obraz. Tylko globalne burze pyłowe są dużym zagrożeniem, ale taka właśnie zakończyła się na Marsie i na następną raczej poczekamy kilka lat" – uspokaja dr Witek.

"Na miejsce lądowania została wybrana równina Elysium, to jest duży obszar wulkaniczny, co mnie - jako geologa - bardzo cieszy" – dodała dr Zalewska.

Aby wszystkie urządzenia rozpoczęły pracę, niezbędne jest rozłożenie paneli słonecznych sondy. Lądownik przetransportował tam m.in. polski mechanizm wykonany przez Astronikę we współpracy z CBK. Instrument umożliwi wykonanie pomiarów temperatury we wnętrzu planety na głębokości 5 m. W ten sposób dowiemy się, czy z jądra Marsa wydobywa się ciepło. Na penetrację powierzchni trzeba jednak poczekać do stycznia. Należy wybrać najlepsze miejsce wokół lądownika, tak aby urządzeniom nie przeszkodził żaden kamień leżący na powierzchni albo płytko pod nią.

Naukowcy czekają na dane sejsmologiczne. "Oprócz zarejestrowania upadku małych planetoid na powierzchnię Marsa, sonda InSight może też zarejestrować ruchy masowe, czyli osunięcie się materii na jakimś zboczu, ale również i sygnały z wnętrza planety. Być może w głębi Marsa tli się aktywność związana z przepływani magmy, która w całości nie zastygła" – tłumaczy dr Piotr Witek. Dodaje, że niezależnie od źródła zarejestrowanych fal sejsmicznych, to sam sposób ich rozchodzenia się zdradzi naukowcom, jaka jest wewnętrzna struktura planety, jak gruba jest jej skorupa - i czy jądro Marsa jest zestalone.

Dzięki zdjęciom z kamer InSighta zostanie wykonany bardzo szczegółowy model okolic jego lądowania z dokładnością do poszczególnych kamieni. Dopiero potem wysuną się instrumenty, które muszą być umieszczone w pewnej odległości od lądownika - czyli właśnie sejsmometr oraz Kret.

Źródło: Eksperci: lądowanie na Marsie to pełen sukces misji InSight

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #8 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 12:24 »
Dane z Marsa z misji InSight trafią także do Polski
27.11.2018 Karolina Duszczyk [PAP - Nauka w Polsce]


Model statku kosmicznego InSight prezentowany w Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA. Fot. EPA-EFE / EUGENE GARCIA 26.11.2018

Dane uzyskane w ramach marsjańskiej misji InSight, która w poniedziałek wylądowała na Marsie, trafią także do Polski. Pierwszeństwo ich analiz będzie miał współtwórca mechanizmu wbijającego - Kreta, opracowanego do zbadania temperatury wnętrza Marsa.

W poniedziałek ok. godz. 20:40 czasu środkowoeuropejskiego lądownik InSight wylądował na powierzchni Marsa i wysłał pierwsze zdjęcie. Na fotografii widać linię horyzontu Czerwonej planety. Obraz był jednak niewyraźny, gdyż na soczewce kamery znajduje się jeszcze filtr ochronny, osłaniający kamerę od tumanu kurzu i pyłu, wzbitego w powietrze przez dwanaście hamujących silników odrzutowych podczas lądowania - powiedział PAP Łukasz Wiśniewski z firmy firmy technologiczno-naukowej Astronika. We współpracy z Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN i firmami oraz ośrodkami badawczymi - opracowała ona i wykonała mechanizm penetratora gruntu.

"InSight wylądował na płaskiej powierzchni Równiny Elysium Planitia. To miejsce jest najlepsze dla dokonania pomiarów geologicznych" – ocenił Wiśniewski.

Przez najbliższe tygodnie sonda InSight będzie szukała najlepszego miejsca do wbicia się pod powierzchnię Marsa na głębokość 5 metrów. Będzie to właśnie zadanie Kreta.

Celem eksperymentu będzie zmierzenie temperatury pod powierzchnią planety. "Wiertło", które przetransportuje czujniki temperatury do wnętrza Czerwonej Planety.

Łukasz Wiśniewski podkreślił, że głębokość 5 m. wystarczy, żeby badać wnętrze planety. "Już poniżej 3 m przestają mieć znaczenie wahania termiczne, wywołane cyklem dzień-noc czy sezonowe zmiany temperatury. Dlatego na tej głębokości można zmierzyć faktyczną temperaturę, jaka +dociera+ spod powierzchni Marsa" - opowiada inżynier.

Jak tłumaczy, dane zebrane przez instrumenty naukowe w ramach trzech eksperymentów trafią najpierw do głównego badacza z NASA. Następnie zostaną udostępnione kilkudziesięciu badaczom współpracującym. Jest wśród nich także Polak, dr Jerzy Grygorczuk. Polski inżynier - jako pracownik Centrum Badań Kosmicznych i jeden z założycieli firmy technologiczno-naukowej Astronika - opracował wiele mechanizmów kosmicznych, m.in. technologię wykorzystaną podczas misji Rosetta. Będzie on miał pierwszeństwo i wyłączność, jeśli chodzi o analizę danych, zanim zostaną one upublicznione przez NASA.

Lot na Marsa trwał 6 miesięcy, lądownik przebył ponad 400 mln kilometrów. Krytycznym momentem było lądowanie.

"To było zaledwie nieco ponad 6 minut, ale to jest dramatyczny moment dla lądownika. Trzeba precyzyjnie trafić pod odpowiednim kątem natarcia w atmosferę - aby udało się od niej nie odbić, a także nie spłonąć. Bardzo dużo rzeczy musi się udać bezbłędnie. Tak się stało, sonda wylądowała i pierwsze emocje opadły" – podsumował inż. Wiśniewski.

Eksperyment z udziałem polskiej technologii rozpocznie się w styczniu. Cała misja zakończy się po upływie roku marsjańskiego, czyli 2 lat ziemskich.

Źródło: Dane z Marsa z misji InSight trafią także do Polski

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #9 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 12:47 »
Dane z Marsa z misji InSight trafią także do Polski
27.11.2018 Karolina Duszczyk [PAP - Nauka w Polsce]


Model statku kosmicznego InSight prezentowany w Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA. Fot. EPA-EFE / EUGENE GARCIA 26.11.2018

Dane uzyskane w ramach marsjańskiej misji InSight, która w poniedziałek wylądowała na Marsie, trafią także do Polski. Pierwszeństwo ich analiz będzie miał współtwórca mechanizmu wbijającego - Kreta, opracowanego do zbadania temperatury wnętrza Marsa.

W poniedziałek ok. godz. 20:40 czasu środkowoeuropejskiego lądownik InSight wylądował na powierzchni Marsa i wysłał pierwsze zdjęcie. Na fotografii widać linię horyzontu Czerwonej planety. Obraz był jednak niewyraźny, gdyż na soczewce kamery znajduje się jeszcze filtr ochronny, osłaniający kamerę od tumanu kurzu i pyłu, wzbitego w powietrze przez dwanaście hamujących silników odrzutowych podczas lądowania - powiedział PAP Łukasz Wiśniewski z firmy firmy technologiczno-naukowej Astronika. We współpracy z Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN i firmami oraz ośrodkami badawczymi - opracowała ona i wykonała mechanizm penetratora gruntu.

"InSight wylądował na płaskiej powierzchni Równiny Elysium Planitia. To miejsce jest najlepsze dla dokonania pomiarów geologicznych" – ocenił Wiśniewski.

Przez najbliższe tygodnie sonda InSight będzie szukała najlepszego miejsca do wbicia się pod powierzchnię Marsa na głębokość 5 metrów. Będzie to właśnie zadanie Kreta.

Celem eksperymentu będzie zmierzenie temperatury pod powierzchnią planety. "Wiertło", które przetransportuje czujniki temperatury do wnętrza Czerwonej Planety.

Łukasz Wiśniewski podkreślił, że głębokość 5 m. wystarczy, żeby badać wnętrze planety. "Już poniżej 3 m przestają mieć znaczenie wahania termiczne, wywołane cyklem dzień-noc czy sezonowe zmiany temperatury. Dlatego na tej głębokości można zmierzyć faktyczną temperaturę, jaka +dociera+ spod powierzchni Marsa" - opowiada inżynier.

Jak tłumaczy, dane zebrane przez instrumenty naukowe w ramach trzech eksperymentów trafią najpierw do głównego badacza z NASA. Następnie zostaną udostępnione kilkudziesięciu badaczom współpracującym. Jest wśród nich także Polak, dr Jerzy Grygorczuk. Polski inżynier - jako pracownik Centrum Badań Kosmicznych i jeden z założycieli firmy technologiczno-naukowej Astronika - opracował wiele mechanizmów kosmicznych, m.in. technologię wykorzystaną podczas misji Rosetta. Będzie on miał pierwszeństwo i wyłączność, jeśli chodzi o analizę danych, zanim zostaną one upublicznione przez NASA.

Lot na Marsa trwał 6 miesięcy, lądownik przebył ponad 400 mln kilometrów. Krytycznym momentem było lądowanie.

"To było zaledwie nieco ponad 6 minut, ale to jest dramatyczny moment dla lądownika. Trzeba precyzyjnie trafić pod odpowiednim kątem natarcia w atmosferę - aby udało się od niej nie odbić, a także nie spłonąć. Bardzo dużo rzeczy musi się udać bezbłędnie. Tak się stało, sonda wylądowała i pierwsze emocje opadły" – podsumował inż. Wiśniewski.

Eksperyment z udziałem polskiej technologii rozpocznie się w styczniu. Cała misja zakończy się po upływie roku marsjańskiego, czyli 2 lat ziemskich.

Źródło: Dane z Marsa z misji InSight trafią także do Polski

Orionidzie, myślę, że powyższy artykuł nadaje się do głównego wątku o InSight. Za ileś tam lat ktoś, zainteresowany misją lądownika  może go przeczytać. Jest duże prawdopodobieństwo, że osoby takie informacje będą sukać na głównym wątku misji a nie na wątkach pobocznych...

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #10 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 13:10 »
Dane z Marsa z misji InSight trafią także do Polski
Orionidzie, myślę, że powyższy artykuł nadaje się do głównego wątku o InSight. Za ileś tam lat ktoś, zainteresowany misją lądownika  może go przeczytać. Jest duże prawdopodobieństwo, że osoby takie informacje będą sukać na głównym wątku misji a nie na wątkach pobocznych...
Racja. W wątku głównym dałem odpowiednie adnotacje.
http://www.forum.kosmonauta.net/index.php?topic=1086.msg125148#msg125148

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #11 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 13:15 »
Racja. W wątku głównym dałem odpowiednie adnotacje.
http://www.forum.kosmonauta.net/index.php?topic=1086.msg125148#msg125148

Ja będę się dalej upierał, żebyś arta o polskim udziale w analizie danych z InSighta dał na głównym wątku. Bo Twoje linki giną w zalewie innych informacji  ;) Chodzi mi tylko o artykuł, że Polska będzie analizowała dane z sondy  :)

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #12 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 14:21 »
NASA’s InSight mission lands on Mars to study planet’s hidden interior
November 26, 2018 Stephen Clark [spaceflight Now]


InSight project manager Tom Hoffman motions to an image captured by the spacecraft minutes after landing on Mars. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA’s InSight spacecraft plunged into the rarefied atmosphere of Mars at a speed of more than 12,000 mph Monday and braked to a gentle touchdown, setting the stage for a two-year surface mission to probe the planet’s deep interior.

Cocooned inside a heat shield, the robotic lander weathered extreme temperatures reaching 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (1,500 degrees Celsius) as it entered the Martian atmosphere, unfurled a supersonic parachute, then pulsed 12 retrorockets up to 10 times every second in the final phase of the descent toward the red planet, finally settling on the surface with three landing legs.

Controllers confirmed InSight’s landing at 2:54 p.m. EST (11:54 a.m. PST; 1954 GMT), roughly eight minutes after the touchdown actually occurred at Elysium Planitia, a broad equatorial plain selected for its relatively flat surface free of large boulders and craters. It took that long for radio signals from InSight to travel from Mars to Earth, a distance of 91 million miles (146 million kilometers).

Tense engineers monitored the $993 million mission’s white-knuckle arrival at Mars from a control center at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, receiving data from the lander via a pair of briefcase-sized CubeSats sent to the red planet with InSight.

The twin Mars Cube One, or MarCO, microprobes were the first spacecraft of their size to fly to another planet, and the CubeSats were primarily developed as a technology demonstration to pave the way for future interplanetary smallsats.

But the CubeSats carried a radio to relay data from InSight back to Earth. The innovative miniature radio, the size of a softball, converted UHF signals from InSight to an X-band frequency to transmit to the ground.

Engineers were not sure the MarCO CubeSats would work, so InSight’s planners had two other ways to get data from the landing — one in real-time using a weak carrier signal received by huge ground-based dish antennas, and another data relay route through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA satellite flying around the red planet that recorded telemetry from the lander for later playback to Earth.

But the MarCO CubeSat came through Monday, giving officials detailed information about InSight’s status as it maneuvered through the Martian atmosphere.

“Ground stations are observing signals consistent with parachute deploy,” said Christine Szalai, an entry, descent and landing systems engineer at JPL. “Telemetry shows parachute deployment, radar powered on. Heat shield separation commanded.”

Rob Manning, JPL’s chief engineer, provided color commentary on NASA TV’s broadcast of InSight’s landing.

“This is really good news so far,” said Manning, a Mars mission architect who has helped lead entry, descent and landing  teams since the 1990s. “I’m on pins and needles.”

“We have radar activation where radar is beginning to search for the ground,” Szalai said as InSight remained suspended under a 39-foot (11.8-meter) diameter parachute. “Once the radar locks on the ground and InSight is about one kilometer above the surface the lander will separate from the backshell and begin terminal descent using its 12 descent engines.

“Altitude convergence, the radar has locked on the ground!” she continued moments later, prompting applause in the JPL control room. “Standing by for lander separation… lander separation commanded. Altitude 600 meters… gravity turn, altitude 400 meters… 300 meters.. 200 meters… 80 meters… 60 meters… 50 meters, constant velocity, 37 meters… 30 meters… 20 meters… 17 meters, standing by for touchdown…

“Touchdown confirmed! InSight is on the surface of Mars!”


Artist’s illustration of InSight firing its 12 retrorockets. Credit: NASA

Monday’s landing concluded a 301-million-mile (484-million-kilometer) journey for InSight that began May 5 with a predawn fog-enshrouded blastoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. InSight was the first Mars mission to leave Earth from the West Coast, supplanting Cape Canaveral, the typical departure point for interplanetary probes.

Within a few minutes of landing, InSight radioed its first image from Elysium Planitia, showing a flat, mostly featureless landing site, with sandy soils and a modestly-sized rocket near one of the lander’s footpads. Protective lens covers on both of the probe’s cameras will be released late this week, allowing InSight to gain a clearer view of its environment.

“Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.”

InSight’s arrival on the red planet Monday was the first successful Mars landing in six years. The stationary robot joins NASA’s Curiosity rover already on Mars, exploring Gale Crater roughly 340 miles (550 kilometers) from InSight’s landing zone.

NASA officials were elated with the landing in a press briefing Monday afternoon. More than half of all Mars landing attempts have ended in failure.

“Listening to Christine (Szalai) call out as we got closer and closer to the surface, every time she made a call out, the hairs on the back of my neck would start rising a little bit higher …When we finally got the confirmation of touchdown, it was completely amazing,” said Tom Hoffman, InSight’s project manager at JPL. “The whole room went crazy … My inner four-year-old came out.”

At first glance, InSight’s surroundings appear to match predictions based on imagery from orbiting satellites. Mission managers wanted to send InSight to Elysium Planitia because it was a safe landing site, and offered smooth terrain for the lander’s robotic arm to place a pair of European-built science instruments on the surface.

“There certainly are some small rocks, but those look pretty manageable,” Hoffman told reporters after Monday’s landing.

Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at JPL, said the lander arrived on flat terrain, with a tilt of just 2 degrees.


A camera on InSight’s robotic arm captured this view after Monday’s landing on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Monday’s landing is just the beginning of a months-long process to survey InSight’s landing site and deploy the mission’s two science payloads.

“We were all certain that that first image would help us determine how difficult of a job we would have in placing the instruments, and I’m very happy that it looks like we’ll be able to do it quite easily, we hope,” said Elizabeth Barrett, InSight instrument operations lead at JPL.

A fresh data downlink from InSight through the Mars Odyssey orbiter Monday night confirmed the solar arrays on the lander opened and were collecting sunlight, a crucial step in ensuring the craft’s long-term survival. Post-landing checkouts of InSight’s robotic arm and instruments are planned starting Tuesday.

InSight’s nearly 8-foot-long (2.4-meter) robotic arm will place a French-built seismometer and German-made heat probe on the Martian surface next to the lander in the next few months.

The contributions from CNES — the French space agency — and the German Aerospace Center — or DLR — totaled around $180 million. NASA’s expenditures on the InSight mission come to $813 million, including a $163 million launch contract with United Launch Alliance.

The InSight mission’s robotic arm was originally built for the canceled Mars Surveyor lander that was supposed to launch in 2001. Other leftover parts on InSight include a landing radar originally built as a spare for the Phoenix mission, and surplus structural booms from the Curiosity rover repurposed for a Spanish-built weather station on InSight to collect temperature and wind data.

InSight will first put the seismometer package on the surface near the lander, then the arm will retrieve a wind and thermal shield to cover the instrument. The heat probe will be deployed last for its mechanized mole to start digging into the Martian crust.

“I liken it to … playing that “Claw” game at a carnival, but you’re doing it with a really, really valuable prize, and you’re doing it blindfolded, where you can only take occasional pictures, and then you’re doing it via remote control on another planet,” Barrett said of the carefully-choreographed procedure to deploy InSight’s two science instruments. “It takes a little bit longer. You need take more pauses to make sure you actually have the grapple of the payload before you lift it up, and it’s actually on the ground before you let it go.”

“This entire process, just getting the instruments to the ground, takes approximately two-to-three months, so it’s going to take a little bit of time to get to that point,” Barrett said. “And then another couple of months for the mole to penetrate into the ground and to do the fine-tuning of the seismometer, and at that point, we’ll be sitting back and listening for those marsquakes and measuring the vital signs of Mars, getting all that great science return. We’re really looking forward to that.”

Both instruments will transmit data through electric tethers leading to the lander.


Artist’s illustration of the InSight spacecraft on Mars, with the seismometer and heat probe deployed. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Sensitive is really an understatement,” Banerdt said of the seismometer. “It’s an exquisitely sensitive device for measuring the motion of the ground. And when we talk about motion, we’re talking about vibrations that have an amplitude comparable to the size of an atom.

“These are waves that were generated, maybe, by a marsquake on the other side of the planet, have traveled all the way through the planet, getting their waveform modified as they go through the planet and picking up information about the deep interior structure, and then we are able to pick it up when it comes back up to the surface under the seismometer,” Banerdt said.

The seismic sensors aboard InSight evolved from mission concepts in the 1990s and 2000s that would have dispatched multiple small probes to Mars, creating a global geophysical network. InSight will give scientists just one seismic station, but experts have developed techniques to glean information about the interior of Mars, even with a single seismometer.

Researchers have attempted seismic detections on Mars before, but seismometers on NASA’s Viking landers in the 1970s provided inconclusive results. The instruments were mounted the decks of the landers, making them susceptible from interference from spacecraft vibrations and winds.

“Not only do you have to have a very sensitive device for measuring those motions but you have to protect it from everything else that might affect it,” he said. “We have several different layers of protection, it’s sort of like a Russian doll.”

Philippe Lognonné, head of the InSight seismic investigation team at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in France, said scientists do not have a confirmed detection of marsquake, but evidence suggests weak tremors occur on the red planet.

“We have no clear data on seismic activity on the planet,” Lognonné in an interview with Spaceflight Now before InSight’s launch. “We imagine it because we see faults on the surface. In some places, we have seen where a boulder may have fallen down from a scarp. But again, we have no data.”

Lognonné said, based on existing theoretical models, the seismometer could register around 20 or 30 quakes per year, sensing ripples from all types of seismic waves moving through the planet.

“We cover all the seismic waves, and we even have sensitivity to tides, the Phobos (Mars’s biggest moon) tide especially,” Lognonné said. “We cover all the signals to be generated by a quake.”


Artist’s rendition of the interior structure of Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Once placed on the surface of Mars, the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, know as HP3, will hammer to a depth of 16 feet, or 5 meters, a process expected to take around six weeks with roughly 10,000 individual hammer blows, accounting for several planned pauses to allow the instrument to record thermal conductivity measurements.

“If you have an astronaut on the planet, you can do this in maybe 20 minutes or half an hour,” Banerdt said of the heat flow experiment. “But if you want to do it robotically, you have to get a little bit more clever.”

The metallic mole will probe deeper into the Martian crust than any past lander.

“We think this remote probe can actually go down about 15 feet, which gives us a better baseline to measure the temperature increase with depth and be able to estimate the amount of heat coming out of Mars,” Banerdt said.

“And that amount of heat is tied to the geological activity of the planet. It’s the heat engine of the planet that drives volcanism, it drives tectonic activity, it drives mountain-building. So all the geological processes that happen on a planet are driven by its heat engine, and we want to measure sort of the vigor of that heat engine.”

“We switch on the temp sensors and record the temperature over depth and time for up to two years,” said Tilman Spohn, HP3 investigation lead from DLR, the German Aerospace Center, in Berlin. “Taking the temperature gradient, or the rate at which the temperature increases (with depth), gives us the heat flow. Very simple and straightforward, but as planetary science often is, very difficult. The devil is in the details.”

Scientists will also measure Mars’ polar wobble by analyzing radio signals transmitted between InSight and Earth-based antennas.

“By the timing of that signal, we can track the location of the spacecraft at Mars … with an accuracy of something around a foot or so, maybe a little bit less,” Banerdt said. “To me, that’s the closest we can get to magic with science.”

With that information, scientists can determine which way the Martian north pole is pointing as the planet rotates.

“Over the course of a year, we can watch the north pole wobble just a little bit because of the core sloshing around inside of the planet, and that will give us a very, very tight constraint on the size of that core and its density, and so its composition,” Banerdt said. “That tells us the structure of Mars. The structure of Mars tells us something about the processes that put that structure together. We can put this into our mdoels, extrapolate it to Earth, and understand how the Earth formed four-and-half billion years ago.”

Much of the ancient geologic record on Earth has eroded away, but Mars may still hold clues about how it was born, accreted rock and dust, and formed a hot, high-pressure mantle and core as heavier elements sunk deep beneath its surface.

“How we get from a ball of featureless rock into a planet that may or may not support life is a key question in planetary science,” Banerdt said. “And these processes that do this all happen in the first tens of millions of years.”

Discoveries made by InSight at Mars could inform scientists how the Earth formed and evolved.

“Mars is a smaller planet,” Banerdt said. “It’s less active than the Earth, so it has retained the fingerprints of those early processes in its basic structure — the thickness of the crust, the compositon of the mantle, the size and composition of its core,” he said. “By mapping out these boundaries, these various different sections of the inside of the planet, we can then understand better how the planet formed, and how our planet got to be the way it is.”

InSight was originally supposed to launch in March 2016, and reach Mars later that year, but problems sealing a vacuum enclosure containing the French seismic sensors forced officials to postpone the mission. Mars launch opportunities come once every 26 months, when the planets are in the proper positions in the solar system, so the next chance to send InSight came this year.

Engineers redesigned the vacuum enclosure to eliminate an air leak in a feed-through, or wiring interface, used to route data between the seismic sensors inside the instrument and electronics and communications equipment aboard the InSight spacecraft. The fix passed testing, and officials cleared the probe for launch.

NASA’s next Mars mission, the Mars 2020 rover, is scheduled for liftoff from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas 5 rocket in July 2020, and should reach the red planet Feb. 18, 2021.

Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/11/26/nasas-insight-mission-lands-on-mars-to-study-planets-hidden-interior/

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #13 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 21:58 »
MarCO success vindicates use of cubesats on deep space missions
by Jeff Foust — November 26, 2018[SpaceNews]


NASA's MarCO-B cubesat took this image of Mars from a distance of 6,000 kilometers as it flew past the planet Nov. 26 shortly after the InSight spacecraft landed. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

PASADENA, Calif. — The success a pair of cubesats achieved in relaying telemetry from NASA’s InSight Mars lander demonstrates that such spacecraft can play increasing roles in future deep space missions, spacecraft designers believe.

The twin Mars Cube One, or MarCO, cubesats launched as secondary payloads with the InSight spacecraft in May and flew by Mars as InSight landed on the planet. The cubesats, intended primarily as technology demonstrations, were designed to provide a realtime relay of telemetry from InSight during landing, without which it would have been hours before controllers knew if the spacecraft had landed successfully.

Although NASA emphasized the experimental nature of the cubesats prior to the landing, the MarCO spacecraft performed as intended, receiving the UHF telemetry from InSight during its entry, descent and landing phase and rebroadcasting it at X-band frequencies received by NASA’s Deep Space Network.

“MarCO was there to relay information back from InSight in real time, and we did that extraordinarily well,” said Andy Klesh, MarCO chief engineer, at a press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory here Nov. 26 two hours after the InSight landing. “We had no dropped frames, no dropped data along the way.”

In addition to the InSight telemetry, one of the cubesats, MarCO-B, returned an image of Mars taken shortly after the landing, as the spacecraft was passing 6,000 kilometers from the planet. “We had one more gift that we could give,” Klesh said to applause from the audience in the press conference auditorium as he revealed the image. “This image is really our farewell to InSight, our wish for good luck and our farewell to Mars itself.”

The MarCO primary mission will last about two more weeks, he said. The two spacecraft will return other data collected during the flying, including telemetry about the health of the cubesats themselves and potentially other images of Mars taken during close approach.

The MarCO-A cubesat also indirectly performed science during the flyby as its radio signals were occluded by the planet as it passed behind Mars. Measurement of the changes in signal as it passed through the planet’s atmosphere just before and after being blocked by the planet itself could provide information about atmospheric conditions. “With that, we’re actually doing atmospheric science as we’re passing by Mars, and we’ll be digging through that data as well,” Klesh said.

The success of MarCO demonstrates that such small satellites — each MarCO satellite is a six-unit cubesat — can perform useful missions beyond Earth orbit, opening up new opportunities for such spacecraft in the future. “This team of really mostly part-timers on the project has proven the technology we were trying to demonstrate with this mission, being able to support a large craft like InSight,” he said. “We can take a smaller, focused, more riskier mission out into the solar system and take advantage of new opportunities.”

NASA has increasingly shown an interest in using cubesats and other small satellites for a variety of science missions, initially in Earth science and heliophysics but now also astrophysics and planetary science. NASA hasn’t committed to a MarCO-like mission for its next Mars lander, the Mars 2020 rover, but Klesh said the success of MarCO has opened the door to that and other uses of smallsats in deep space.

“We’ve shown that this type of craft can support these types of missions, should that be needed,” he said. “We’ll be working on opportunities as we go to see where they’re necessary and how well we can support them in the future.”

Prior to the landing, project officials had hinted they were looking at options for an extended mission for MarCO, but were focused at the time on supporting the InSight landing. “We are discussing with [NASA] Headquarters on what we might do” with an extended mission, Klesh said. That included collecting engineering data to assess the “survivability” of the spacecraft and “seeing what other great science and lessons we can pull from those craft.”

“We do look forward to those lessons being used on future missions,” he added. “There are many future smallsats and cubesats that are in work and funded by NASA at this point, and we look forward to more concepts into the future.”

Source: MarCO success vindicates use of cubesats on deep space missions

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Odp: [SpaceNews] NASA prepares for InSight Mars landing
« Odpowiedź #14 dnia: Listopad 27, 2018, 23:53 »
NASA's successful Mars landing means we have to consider what to do about potential life there
Nov. 26, 2018 By David A. Weintraub, professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt University [THINK]

There is tantalizing evidence that microscopic life may exist on Mars. Human contact is likely to result in its mass extinction.


NASA flight team engineers celebrate the InSight spacecraft's successful landing on Mars at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Nov. 26, 2018.Al Seib / AFP - Getty Images

Millions of us paused on Monday afternoon to watch NASA’s InSight lander touch down on Mars and begin the first-of-its-kind mission to probe that planet’s deep interior. InSight will be listening for Marsquakes, measuring the rate at which heat flows out of the planet and determining how much Mars’ polar axis wobbles as it orbits the sun. Planetary scientists will use all of this new knowledge to improve our understanding of the size of the core and the thickness of the mantle and crust of Mars, as well as to determine its interior temperature.

Then in 2020, the European Space Agency will launch the ExoMars Rover, and NASA will send the Mars 2020 Rover. Both missions will focus on astrobiology, looking for signs of life; the Mars 2020 Rover, for instance, is currently set to explore the Jezero Crater, which once was a 30-mile wide lake.

Our curiosity about our neighbor is understandable: Mars is the closest place in the universe where extraterrestrial life might exist.

On a warm and wet Mars with a hearty atmosphere — as it was several billion years ago — life could have flourished on, above and below the Martian surface. As some of the atmosphere of Mars slowly trickled off into space, the atmosphere grew thin and cold, and the large bodies of liquid water that once covered much of Mars disappeared from the surface. The atmosphere also slowly lost the ability to protect the surface from dangerous radiation from space. Thus, life on Mars, if it existed at all, would have sought safe havens in caves and underground. Descendants of those ancient Martians might still be living off subsurface sources of water and the energy that flows upward from the rocks deep inside the planet.

Our rovers and landers — Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, Insight and Mars 2020 — are a decades-long program to robotically explore Mars to search for both signs of ancient life and evidence for living, breathing Martians. Almost certainly, any such modern Martians that might exist are no more advanced than bacteria.

And, in fact, some scientists believe they have already uncovered strong evidence for bacterial life on Mars, both past and present, in the form of small amounts of methane gas in the atmosphere of Mars. Yes, we’re talking about nothing more biologically advanced than methanogenic bacteria, but those little creatures would be Martian bacteria.

If any of these missions finds more concrete evidence of life, even of the microscopic variety, we all will face a moral and ethical quandary. Do microscopic and presumably non-sentient beings on another planet have the right to be protected from us? Is Mars their planet?

The possibility that Mars could be inhabited raises important questions regarding the current space race to Mars, because we know that, once we establish a human presence on that planet, we likely will drive native Martian life to extinction. Thus, we must ask this question: Do we have the inalienable right to put Martian life at risk?

Since the dawn of the space age, scientists have seriously debated the threat of biological contamination of other worlds. NASA hosted meetings as far back as 1959 to debate the necessity of sterilizing whatever might be sent to other worlds. Since then, all planetary exploration missions have adhered to sterilization standards that must be balanced with scientific goals, i.e., with limitations of not damaging sensitive equipment, which could potentially lead to mission failures.

Those protocols are designed to minimize the chance that terrestrial bacteria might hitch rides to other planets on robots like InSight. They were not, however, written to prevent humans from hitching rides on interplanetary spacecraft, and humans are contaminant factories. Our food, habitats, life support systems and tools cannot be sterilized. With any attempt to colonize Mars, contamination is inevitable.

Players both public — NASA, the United Arab Emirates’ Mars 2117 project — and private — SpaceX, Mars One, Blue Origin — are already planning manned missions to Mars and even thinking as far ahead as colonization.

Perhaps, instead, we should put human exploration of Mars on hold until we are absolutely positive there’s nothing already living there.

We have the ability to send increasingly intelligent and capable rovers to Mars. Those rovers could explore caves, drill deep cores in the polar ice caps and seek additional evidence that will either reveal the extent of native life on Mars or offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt that no Martians exist. Given that we have the technology to determine whether Mars is inhabited without placing human footprints in the Martian soil, I believe we should let InSight and other robotic landers explore Mars for us before we allow any company or country to send human explorers and colonists to Mars.

Once we can answer the question of whether life exist on Mars with certainty, we will have the knowledge we need to begin to debate whether we humans have the right to set foot on Mars.

David A. Weintraub is a professor of astronomy and of communication, science and technology at Vanderbilt University. He's also the author of "Life on Mars: What to Know Before We Go" (2018).

Source: NASA's successful Mars landing means we have to consider what to do about potential life there