CABO CAÑAVERAL, Florida, United States (AP) – Ship Insight of NASA he will enter the atmosphere of Mars at supersonic speeds, and then he will rest softly and safely on the plains of the red planet. The success of this will depend on your work over the last six minutes of a six-month trip.
After everything is perfectly planned at each step of the route, the dispatchers will not be able to make any changes regarding what happens on Monday at the final stage, at a distance of almost 160 million kilometers (100 million miles). between Mars and land There is a delay of eight minutes to receive each transmitted message.
“When we hear something, everything will be over,” he said. Tom Hoffman Jet Propulsion Laboratories NASAin charge of the project. "U happened or didn't happen."
Any last minute minor adjustments should be completed an hour and a half before the spacecraft touches the surface, said Rob Grover, the engineer who heads the launch team.
“All our efforts to ensure that we succeed are performed in previous years,” he explained.
Six minutes before arrival, the Insight enters 19,800 kilometers per hour (12,300 miles per hour), making his way to the upper part of the atmosphere of Mars about 114 kilometers (77 miles) above the surface.
Atmospheric friction causes the ship to reduce speed, but also generates heat. The InSight heat shield is capable of withstanding 1500 degrees Celsius (2700 degrees Fahrenheit). When you find yourself at an altitude of 11 kilometers (7 miles) above the ground, your parachute will open when the ship moves at 1,400 km / h (860 miles per hour).
When only three minutes are left, InSight will reset its heat shield and deploy three landing pads. With his speed now at a speed of 215 km / h (134 miles per hour), he will remove his parachute and its rear shell one kilometer (less than a mile) from the surface.
Almost immediately, his 12 reduction engines will light up, in order to further reduce speed and keep him away from the back shell, which will still fall under a parachute. You only have 45 seconds left. The spacecraft will turn on so that its solar panels will be extended to the east and west, landing on the surface of Mars, and his arm robotic to the south. It will now move at a speed of 27 km / h (17 mph) and at an altitude of 50 meters (164 ft).
15 seconds earlier, InSight hopes to touch Mars at a speed of 8 km / h (5 mph) on a plain near the equator of Elysium Planitia. There he will perform various scientific tasks throughout the Martian year, which is equivalent to two lands. At night, temperatures can reach – 96 degrees Celsius (- 140 F), because this is the winter season.