The InSight spacecraft successfully landed on Mars earlier this week and it is already hard at work, photographing the landing site. It became fully operational in the span of 5 hours as it charged its batteries through solar panels
Designed as a robotic mining device InSight will dig through the surface of the planet at some point.
In an official press release, NASA notes that all the steps were completed without a problem and the mission hasn’t encountered any problems up to this point.
In the following days, the spacecraft will start to spread a variety of instruments and sensors on the surface of the Red Planet. A steady stream of pictures will be provided by a camera mounted on a mechanical arm as they will allow researchers to track down the best position for the instruments. It is estimated that the operation will take up to two months.
The spacecraft is powered by a set of twin solar panels that are seven feet wide. When they are fully extended it similar to the convertibles build built in the 1960s. Both panels are able to provide 700 watts when the weather is clear, which is more than enough to keep the instruments working.
The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport a.k.a. InSight is a robotic lander manufactured by Lockheed Martin for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
During the course of its mission InSight will place a seismometer that will facilitate the measuring of the seismic activity on the planet while also being able to provide accurate 3D models of the interior. Using an internal heat probe it will also identify the different stages of geological evolution that shaped the planet as we know it today.
Spacecraft missions aimed at Mars have a thin launch window and can be attempted only once every 26 months when Earth and Mars align, minimizing the distance and the navigations tasks required for the mission.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.