Photo of Mars | NASA via REUTERS
NASA’s InSight spacecraft landed on Mars on Monday.
Employees of Lockheed Martin, the builders of the InSight spacecraft, gathered for a Mars landing. The success rate for such endeavors over the years is just 40 percent.
“Landing on Mars is very hard. We’ve done everything. We have prepared the team, prepared the spacecraft, but now we need a little bit of luck on our side as well,” said Beth Buck, mission operations program manager of Lockheed Martin.
It’s a complicated and risky process as all kinds of things may have gone wrong. The spacecraft, out of touch with Earth, slowed from 21,000 kilometers per hour when it hit Mars’ surface seven minutes later.
Using a robotic arm, InSight has deployed a high-tech seismometer built by the French space agency to listen for Martian earthquakes as well as a self-hammering nail with heat sensors built by the German space agency that will dig five meters deep into the surface to gauge the planet’s internal temperature, all to better understanding a place that’s been much less geologically active than Earth.
“So we’re trying to understand that connection. We’re trying to understand a body that’s smaller, a body that although it was formed 4.5 billion years ago along with Earth, it has formed differently,” said Tim Linn, the entry, descent and landing manager of the Insight lander at Lockheed Martin.
Shortly after the landing, InSight beamed back a photo of Mars. Information gathered during this mission could be useful when humans travel to the planet in the future. — Reuters