The Beacon

NASA Beat the Odds and Lands on Mars

Alexandra Benson, Staff Writer

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Six months and 300 million miles later, contact was made with Mars. The Red Planet received an extremely thorough inspection by NASA on November 26, 2018. A robotic lander was used, called InSight, which landed on the smooth plains of Elysium Planitia on Mars.

The goal was to study the interior Mars, taking its vital signs, pulse, and temperature. InSight will perform a radio science experiment to study the planet’s internal structure. The spacecraft was built extremely efficiently. A combination of past technologies were used to ensure that the spacecraft reached the Martian surface after passing through its atmosphere. In fact, the lander was built to land in a dust storm if it needed to. InSight is the first mission dedicated to studying the deep interior of Mars. This is a significant achievement as only about 40% of the missions sent to Mars have been successful.

This mission will last two earth years, gathering information regarding quakes and other measurements, using a robotic arm to dig sixteen feet into the surface. Dr. James Flaten, associate director of NASA’s Minnesota Space Grant Consortium clarifies what exactly this means for mankind. He says, “We plan to have humans on mars in the late 2030s, early 2040s. We’re going to be building habitats and so when we build the habitat, we don’t want marsquakes knocking it down.” The long-term goal is to ultimately help send astronauts to Mars. However, it will take time to successfully and thoroughly analyze the data and all of the aspects of the planet. Until then, there is major curiosity about what new, fascinating information will be unleashed.  

 

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NASA Beat the Odds and Lands on Mars