NASA's latest Mars probe, InSight, Is Scheduled To Land Monday

NASA's latest Mars probe, InSight, Is Scheduled To Land Monday”

InSight's journey of six months and 300 million miles comes to a precarious grand finale Monday afternoon.

On Monday, NASA's InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) Lander is scheduled for a soft touchdown on the surface of the planet Mars, the first spacecraft launched from the West Coast of the U.S. to reach another planet.

On Monday, InSight will follow a similar trajectory, entering the Martian atmosphere at an altitude of 125km, and relying on a combination of heat shield, parachutes, and on-board thrusters to mitigate heating and slow its velocity from almost 20,000 km/hour to about 10 km/h-a factor of 2,000-before its three spindly landing legs touch the surface of Mars.

The InSight and next rover mission, along with others in the planning stage, are seen as precursors for eventual human exploration of Mars, NASA officials said.

Along for the ride to Mars are two communication relay CubeSats, MarCO-A and B. The briefcase-sized spacecraft were intended as demonstrators, but since both have functioned admirably en-route to the Red Planet as independent flyers, will provide a short-term communication relay for InSight as the lander heads down to the surface.

The mission control team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles prepared to conduct a final adjustment to the InSight's flight path on Sunday to manoeuvre the spacecraft closer toward its entry point over Mars.

Scientists expect to see a dozen to 100 marsquakes over the course of the mission, producing data to help them deduce the size, density and composition of the planet.

"What this helps us understand is how we got to here", said JPL's Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator, during a pre-landing briefing with reporters last week.

As a back-up system, InSight will send one of two tones via a UHF signal to Earth, immediately after touching down.

Concentrating on planetary building blocks, InSight has no life-detecting capability.

InSight also is fitted with a German-made drill to burrow as much as 16 feet (5 metres) underground, pulling behind it a rope-like thermal probe to measure heat.

- Touchdown is expected at 1954 GMT. Unlike InSight, the MarCO spacecraft keep on going past Mars into space.

A carefully orchestrated sequence - already fully preprogrammed on board the spacecraft - takes place over the next several minutes, coined "six and a half minutes of terror".

The eight-minute time delay with Earth means scientists will be as powerless as the hundreds watching the mission live on TV. A minute later, the spacecraft will make a turn to orient itself for atmospheric entry. Radio telescopes in Green Bank, West Virginia and Effelsberg, Germany will be listening.

Project manager Tom Hoffman said he's trying his best to stay outwardly calm as the hours tick down.

InSight is the first dedicated to unlocking secrets from deep below the Martian surface.

Hoffman, who is father to a two- and four-year-old, added that has "not been sleeping that great", though he said that might because of his rambunctious toddlers.

Like this



26 November 2018
Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers Betting Pick and Prediction
Former Oklahoma linebacker Teddy Lehman had to laugh at how Friday night's regular-season finale turned out for the Sooners. Yet a couple of defensive gems now have the Sooners playing for their fourth straight Big 12 championship.

26 November 2018
Boca Juniors refusing to play Copa Libertadores final against River Plate
With the incidents that occurred on Saturday, Boca Juniors have asked CONMEBOL not to play the final. One medical doctor, Alejandro Weremczuk, examined Perez and Lamardo and said they should not play.

26 November 2018
Macron condemns violence at French protests
Macron maintains the taxes are needed to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and fund renewable energy systems. Anger is also welling over a hike in the diesel fuel tax, which is up roughly 30 US cents per gallon.

26 November 2018
Blizzard Set To Hit Chicago Sunday
The ABC7 Chicago 7-Day Outlook expects rain to change to snow from west to east on Sunday, with heavy snow possible. Winds will be strong from the north-northeast at 20 to 25 miles per hour and wind gusts up near 40 miles per hour .

25 November 2018
Moving Winter Snow Storm to Blanket Midwest on Major Travel Day
Kansas City is under a blizzard warning due to an expected 4 to 9 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour on Sunday. Winter storm and blizzard warnings are in place as a major storm moves through the Midwest on this busy travel Sunday.

25 November 2018
DJ Swearinger blasts Redskins defense after loss to Cowboys
Redskins: First of two meetings in the final five games against the defending champion Eagles , at Philadelphia on Monday, Dec. 3. He completed 66.7 percent of his throws for 348 yards, two scores and an interception in three 2018 preseason appearances.

25 November 2018
Canadian Jewellery Store Employees Ward Off Robbers With Swords, Video Goes Viral
Two of the suspects are believed to be between five-foot-eight and five-foot-ten with medium builds. The employees continue to swing their swords at the suspects and they eventually flee the area.

25 November 2018
Oil plunges nearly 8 percent despite talk of output cut
On Friday alone, crude prices have fallen by at least six percent, with Brent crude losing almost $4 through the day. Trading volume was lighter than usual with the markets open for only a half day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

25 November 2018
Flybe confirms Virgin Atlantic as a suitor
It has been reported that Easyjet, a rival no-frills airline, and Stobart, the owner of Southend Airport that... A Virgin spokesperson said: "Virgin Atlantic notes the recent media speculation related to Flybe ".

25 November 2018
Why Roberts responded to Trump
The new drama began with remarks Trump made on Tuesday in which he went after a judge who ruled against his migrant asylum order. Bush in 2005, weighed in angrily the next day, issuing a statement to say that politics played no part in the judicial system.