„Landing confirmed“ – the NASA spacecraft „InSight“ has reached Mars. In the next two years, the stationary robot will explore the planet. He has an important module from Germany on board.
The NASA robot „InSight“ landed on Mars. After a journey of approximately 485 million kilometers, the lander, launched in May, set up in the plain of Elysium Planitia north of the Mars equator. Eight minutes after a rapid entry into the Martian atmosphere, radio signals arrived on Earth confirming that, according to the US space agency.
In the NASA control center cheered broke out. Scientists jumped up from their seats and hugged each other. „What a wonderful day for NASA,“ said US space agency chief Jim Bridenstine.
In six minutes from 19,800 km / h to zero
The probe was lowered with the help of rockets and a parachute in an extremely complicated maneuver. When landing, the probe had to slow down from 19,800 kilometers per hour to zero within six minutes. Whether „InSight“ („Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport“) is fully operational was not yet clear.
Shortly after landing, the robot sent a first photo showing some of the surface of the planet and the horizon – and quite a bit of dust on the lens.
Stationary geophysical observatory
As a landing site, the US Space Agency had selected a plane on the planet. The 360-kilogram „InSight“ robot is a stationary geophysical observatory. So he can not roll, but stays in one place. With numerous scientific instruments, the robot is to study Mars and above all to learn more about the structure of the planet and the dynamics under its surface.
„InSight“ is to provide the most comprehensive insights into the interior of Mars. A device developed in Germany, a kind of Mars mole, is supposed to drill into the ground. The robot with the official name HP3 („Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package“) was developed by the German Aerospace Center. The 40-centimeter-long, tapered device to measure the heat flow of Mars. With a seismometer, „InSight“ measures earthquakes, meteor impacts, and all other moves that rock Mars.
The total of around 650 million euros expensive mission is designed for two years.