After traveling to Mars for half a year, NASA's investigation will have a famous "six and a half minutes of terror" where you have to deploy parachutes and climb drivers to avoid collisions. If everything goes according to plan, it will slow down to just 2.24 meters per second and will rest the cushion feet on the red planet to learn the inside. Descendants are scheduled for Monday.
Another possibility is not to head Tom Hoffman, the project manager. "The team has worked hard for several years and is ready for now. Finally we can prepare all of our preparations", he concluded.
The entrance for the probe will be a 10 x 24 kilometer rectangle. A goal that, compared to the 479 million kilometers demanded by intersections, is for scientists, in the football metaphor, "How to make a goal of 130,000 km". During the first 25 seconds of the approach, InSight will remove the heat shield and one minute before touching the Mars field, it will use radar to detect speed and distance to the ground.
Despite optimism, uncertainty exists and is well formed: only 40 percent of the missions sent by unmanageable space agencies to Mars that have been unruly have succeeded. For this reason, it is important to include precision, but also aerodynamic factors, such as obstacles that will be experienced by the ship, and atmospheric variables, such as wind speed and atmospheric density.
Although, with the characteristics of InSight, the American space agency is very supportive: it can choose a friendly surface, which they consider to be "the largest parking lot on Mars", the Elysium Planitia plain. Also the ship, which is loaded with fuel weighs more than 360 kilograms and costs around $ 1 billion, is prepared by engineers to land in dust storms if necessary. "Once arrived, the team on Earth will begin the process to choose the best location to place scientific instruments", specialist explained.
The mission will be to learn for the first time the red planet's interior with two main instruments. Seismograph, which will monitor and analyze ground vibrations triggered by earthquakes and the effects of meteorites. And a heat flow probe that will penetrate 15 times more into the ground than other previous hardware, to accurately determine the amount of heat coming out of its stomach contents.
For NASA it will be a check to measure "Vital sign" Mars through pulse (seismology) and temperature (heat flow). "Engineers will take their time to decide on the next step. And after the instrument is in place, Insight will spend the next Martian year (26 Earth Months) to monitor those signs," Hoffman said.
In addition, special cameras will produce high-quality color images and, if that is not enough, two spacecraft named Mars Cube One, have flown behind InSight and will try to transmit data and open new ways of communication with Earth.
Why investigate the inside of Mars? A decade ago and several reports determined that it must be one of the scientific priorities, and although in the following years several missions were submitted, no one had managed to fly. That is why international expectations for this Monday: in addition to the important participation of the French and German space agencies, which provide key instruments, Britain, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Poland are also collaborating.
By studying the inside of Mars we can learn how other rocky planets, such as the Earth and the moon, are formed. In short, it was a close relative, made from the same primordial element, more than 4,500 million years ago.
What we learn from the cold, rocky desert world can explain our own existence. And, above all, it will be decisive to fulfill one of the great dreams of the journey in the history of space conquest: to send the following years a human explorer to the surface of Mars.