Red planet fever: Insight probe and the most successful mission to Mars


(ANSA) – Space vehicles Insight NASA opened solar panels today, crowning the absolute success of the decline in above-ground devices Mars, even with the delivery of his first "selfie". Followed around the world, from personal computers, from home to the giant screen of Time Square, direct transmission through the Internet of Insight landing on Mars clearly helps increase red planet fever, always higher on the moon planet.

The enthusiasm for space half a century ago reawakened, half between science fiction and the desire to open new frontiers in space exploration. On Thursday, in New York, Sotheby's house prepares to auction off three moon rock fragments brought to Earth by the Apollo mission, the dream of space triggered by a future mission project that will bring humans back to the Moon for "landing" then also on Mars.

It's likely that one day humans can walk on other planets and even build from colonies ignite imagination. Meanwhile, after the film "The Martian", the red planet again became a myth of science fiction. The difference, compared to the 50s, is that everything is really real now.

It is a fact, for example, that with the arrival of Insight, there are three vehicles that operate simultaneously on the surface of Mars, sending data to Earth. Apart from the spacecraft that just arrived, there was a Curious and Curiosity Opportunity, both from NASA. Incidentally the same happened only briefly in 2008, when Opportunities explored Mars land with "brothers" Spirit, which stopped functioning in 2010, and Phoenix, which disrupted contact with Earth in November 2008. Then there were eight vehicles. assets in Mars orbit, including two mini satellites that accompany Insight on Mars.

In this scenario, the space vehicle had just arrived on the ground of Mars controlling all its subsystems, in a type of high-tech inspection and immediately began to "look around" with their cameras. Images to be sent to Earth will help identify the optimal point for placing Sismgraph and probes-thermometers that will measure the temperature of the planet to a depth of five meters.

"Although Insight can study beneath the surface of Mars from a geological point of view, and will not be able to identify the possibility of traces of life, better knowledge of soil layers and especially heat transportation can provide important information about habitability", observing astrobiloga Daniela Billi, from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. "This is relevant given the evidence for the existence of subsurface salt lakes, so the salt concentration is needed to keep the water in a liquid state depending on the temperature," he added, referring to the large lake of water. Liquid was discovered last July under the Mars South Pole Ice. This information, he continued, can help better determine which life forms might originate, and possibly survive, in the same environment.

Meanwhile, the Larri Italia (Laser Retro-Reflector for InSight) instrument, developed by the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be the first of three laser reflectors to work on Mars. with the arrival of the European mission.

"Together they will become a reference point for landing a future mission," said Human Flight Responsible for ASI, Gabriele Mascetti. At the same time, the Larri laser reflector will be an extraordinary research tool for studying basic physics, first relativity.


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