TechnologyMars getting 1st US visitor in years, a 3-legged geologist

20:20  20 november  2018
20:20  20 november  2018 Source:   msn.com

NASA likens Mars InSight lander parking spot to kale salad

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Mars getting 1st US visitor in years, a 3-legged geologist © The Associated Press FILE - This illustration made available by NASA in 2018 shows the InSight lander drilling into the surface of Mars. InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is scheduled to arrive at the planet on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Mars is about to get its first U.S. visitor in years.

NASA's three-legged, one-armed geologist known as InSight makes its grand entrance through the rose-tinted Martian skies on Monday.

It will be the first American spacecraft to land since the Curiosity rover six years ago and the first dedicated to exploring underground.

NASA is going with a tried-and-true method to get this mechanical miner to the surface of the red planet. Engine firings will slow its final descent and the spacecraft will plop down on its rigid legs, mimicking the landings of earlier successful missions.

Eventually, the lander's arm will remove the two main science experiments and place them directly on the Martian surface. One will attempt to dig down 16 feet. The other will listen for quakes.

Mars InSight deploys French-made quake sensor on Red Planet.
The US space agency's unmanned Mars Insight lander, which touched down on the Red Planet last month, has successfully deployed its key, quake-sensing instrument on the alien world's surface, NASA said Thursday. The seismometer, known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS, was made by the French space agency, CNES. "Seismometer deployment is as important as landing InSight on Mars," said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The seismometer is the highest-priority instrument on InSight: We need it in order to complete about three-quarters of our science objectives.

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