Connect with us

News

‘Flawless’: NASA craft lands on Mars after perilous journey

Published

on

Flawless NASA craft lands on Mars after perilous journey

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft designed to drill down into Mars’ interior landed on the planet Monday after a perilous, supersonic plunge through its red skies, setting off jubilation among scientists who had waited in white-knuckle suspense for confirmation to arrive across 100 million miles of space.

Flight controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, leaped out of their chairs, screaming, dancing and hugging, upon learning that InSight had safely arrived on Mars, the graveyard for a multitude of previous missions.

“Touchdown confirmed!” a flight controller called out just before 3 p.m. EST, instantly dispelling the anxiety that gripped the control room as the spacecraft made its six-minute descent.

Because of the distance between Earth and Mars, it took eight minutes for confirmation to arrive, relayed by a pair of tiny satellites that had been trailing InSight throughout the six-month, 300-million-mile (482-million-kilometer) journey.

The two experimental satellites not only transmitted the good news in almost real time, they also sent back InSight’s first snapshot of Mars just 4½ minutes after landing.

The picture was speckled with debris because the dust cover was still on the lander’s camera, but the terrain at first glance looked smooth and sandy with just one sizable rock visible — pretty much what scientists had hoped for. Better photos are expected in the days ahead.

It was NASA’s — indeed, humanity’s — eighth successful landing at Mars since the 1976 Viking probes, and the first in six years. NASA’s Curiosity rover, which arrived in 2012, is still on the move on Mars.

“Flawless,” declared JPL’s chief engineer, Rob Manning. “This is what we really hoped and imagined in our mind’s eye,” he added. “Sometimes things work out in your favor.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, presiding over his first Mars landing as the space agency’s boss, said: “What an amazing day for our country.”

Many Mars-bound spacecraft launched by the U.S., Russia and other spacefaring countries have been lost or destroyed over the years, with a success rate of just 40 percent, not counting InSight.

NASA went with its old, straightforward approach this time, using a parachute and braking engines to get InSight’s speed from 12,300 mph (19,800 kph) when it pierced the Martian atmosphere, about 77 miles (114 kilometers) up, to 5 mph (8kph) at touchdown. The danger was that the spacecraft could burn up in the atmosphere or bounce off it.

The three-legged InSight settled on the western side of Elysium Planitia, the plain that NASA was aiming for. Project manager Tom Hoffman said the spacecraft landed close to the bull’s-eye, but NASA did not have yet have the final calculations.

He said that it was hard to tell from the first photo whether there were any slopes nearby, but that it appeared he got the flat, smooth “parking lot” he was hoping for.

Museums, planetariums and libraries across the U.S. held viewing parties to watch the events unfold at JPL. NASA TV coverage was also shown on the giant screen in New York’s Times Square, where crowds huddled under umbrellas in the rain.

The $1 billion international mission features a German-led mechanical mole that will burrow down 16 feet (5 meters) to measure the planet’s internal heat. Nothing has ever dug deeper into Mars than several inches. The lander also has a French-made seismometer for measuring quakes, if they exist on our smaller, geologically calmer neighbor.

Another experiment will calculate Mars’ wobble to reveal the makeup of the planet’s core.

The 800-pound (360-kilogram) InSight is stationary and will operate from the same spot for the next two years, the duration of a Martian year. Its first job was to get a fast picture out. The next task was the unfolding of its solar panels. NASA wanted to wait 16 minutes for the dust to settle before attempting that; it was awaiting word Monday night on how that went.

Lead scientist Bruce Banerdt warned it will be a slow-motion mission. The instruments will have to be set up and fine-tuned. He said he doesn’t expect to start getting a stream of solid data until late next spring, and it may take the entire mission to really get the goods.

“It really depends on how benevolent Mars is feeling, how many marsquakes it throws at us,” Banerdt said Sunday. “The more marsquakes, the better. We just love that shaking, and so the more shaking it does, the better we can see the inside.”

Mars’ well-preserved interior provides a snapshot of what Earth may have looked like following its formation 4.5 billion years ago, according to Banerdt. While Earth is active seismically, Mars “decided to rest on its laurels” after it formed, he said.

By examining and mapping the interior of Mars, scientists hope to learn why the rocky planets in our solar system turned out so different and why Earth became a haven for life.

Still, there are no life detectors aboard InSight. That will be part of NASA’s next mission, the Mars 2020 rover, which will prowl for rocks that might contain evidence of ancient life.

The question of whether life ever existed in Mars’ wet, watery past is what keeps driving NASA back to the fourth rock from the sun.

___

This story has been corrected to show that confirmation came before 3 p.m., not after.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Education

George Washington University students triggered by their mascot

Published

on

George Washington University students triggered by their mascot

George Washington University is the home of the Colonials. You know, those people who came to America from Europe and eventually fought against the oppressive government of England in order to win independence for America. These heroes of the American Revolution are now being condemned by the students of George Washington University itself.

While the movement and attached petition haven’t reached a tipping point, the idea of changing the mascot to the “Hippo” is gaining momentum. Why? Well, we’ll let the students themselves tell you what they think.

This video by Campus Reform takes us into the wacky world of triggered college students who are so much in opposition of the people who made this country possible that they’d rather be named after the “river horse” of sub-Saharan Africa.

 


NOQ Report Needs Your Help

Continue Reading

Media

Trump to Acosta: ‘You have an agenda. You’re CNN. You’re fake news.’

Published

on

Trump to Acosta You have an agenda Youre CNN Youre fake news

During President Trump’s press conference announcing his declaration of a national emergency, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked whether the President was concocting the national emergency in order to build his border wall because he couldn’t get it done through Congress. The President responded in standard fashion, attacking Acosta’s question itself as biased.

“You have an agenda. You’re CNN. You’re fake news,” the President said to the reporter.

Acosta has been at the center of controversy throughout President Trump’s term, tussling with members of the administration and the President himself at times. He lost access to the White House in November, 2018, after an altercation with a White House staffer.

This time, the President answered Acosta’s question about whether or not the emergency was manufactured by telling him to ask the Angel moms sitting in the front row if they thought the emergency was manufactured. Acosta did not.

 


NOQ Report Needs Your Help

Continue Reading

Immigration

President declares national emergency. Now the craziness begins.

Published

on

President declares national emergency Now the craziness begins

As expected, President Trump signed the omnibus to keep the government from a second shutdown. Then, as expected, he declared a national emergency at the southern border to allow his administration to free up funds for the building of a wall at our southern border.

Now, the expectations shift to how Democrats will attack this move. During his announcement of the national emergency, the President noted he’s aware of how the process is going to go: lawsuits, appeals, more lawsuits, more appeals… and eventually it will be decided by the Supreme Court.

Reactions on social media were mixed.

My Take

From here, it goes insane. It should be noted the President made what many are considering a mistake when he said he “didn’t have to” declare an emergency but wanted the wall built faster. That seems like grounds to attack the declaration itself.

 


NOQ Report Needs Your Help

Continue Reading

Facebook

Trending

Copyright © 2019 NOQ Report