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Insight first explores the interior of Mars, the first physical inspection of 4.5 billion years – Restless Information



Detector "Insight"

Scientists in dark red shirts nervously looked at the big screen, demonstrating an impatient look at success.

"400 meters, 300 meters, 200 meters, 80 meters from the ground …" When the landing successfully returned the sound "哔 哔" (indicating that the detector is still "alive and healthy"), the researchers from the NASA command center Hailing, hugging , applauding … Celebrating people in different ways. Once again, after six years, I again landed on Mars. This man focused and discovered the red planet for almost 60 years.

Command Center researchers note that Insight landed successfully on Mars

“Today we completed the eighth successful landing on Mars in the history of mankind. We will send astronauts to the moon, and then we will send astronauts to Mars. "Acumen" will provide valuable scientific information before we go to Mars. " NASA Director Jim Briddenstein said excitedly after a successful landing.

NASA reported that at 14:52:59 EST on November 26 (Beijing time at 3:52:59 AM), the "Insightful" test of Mars successfully landed on Mars. This August 5, 2012 "Curious" Rover successfully landed on Mars, human detectors again successfully landed on the surface of Mars.

“There is a“ drum sound ”underground, we need to explore the interior of Mars”,

When it comes to a Mars exploration project in the United States, many people will think of the Mars rover, such as “Opportunity and Curiosity,” which have often appeared in the media in recent years, especially in Opportunity, which has only a 3-year project life. of the month on mars. I stayed for 11 years, not only achieved fruitful results, but also created a world record for “accidents” on Mars – I drove more than 40 kilometers and completed the “Mars” marathon.

In 1964, the United States launched the Mars Sailor 4 probe and continued to explore Mars for over 40 years and received a large number of detection results. As the country with the greatest harvest from Mars, the United States is still on Mars.

Space expert Pan Jiao told Y. News that although we studied Mars for the first time for decades, we still know very little about the internal structure of Mars. Previously, the total number of studies of Mars, conducted by people, was to study the global, surface, atmospheric and magnetic fields of Mars. Insights first discovered the interior of Mars, which is equivalent to "scanning the first physical examination of 4.5 billion years" with a CT scan.

Insight will perform the first human task of finding Mars inside.

The old saying, “knowledgeable people do not know anyone,” is also applicable to the field of space exploration. For a planet to discover that it only knows its earth and atmosphere, it knows only its surface and cannot understand its “inner heart”. Yang Yuguang, vice-chairman of the International Committee on Astronautics, told the news: “Send some detectors to walk around the planet or on the ground. It is impossible to understand the insides of a certain performance. For example, until 2015, the red and purple Exoplan Kepler 452b, although similar in size and size to Earth, still cannot know whether this is a rocky planet, not to mention the internal structure of the planet. Therefore, to fully understand the planet, you must Detect the inner structure of the planet. "

According to NASA's previously published information, Insight basically performs two main scientific tasks: first, determine the current Martian geology, identifying the scale, frequency, and geographical distribution of the internal seismic activity of Mars and the frequency of the meteorite affecting Mars. The level of tectonic activity, the second – the study of the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets, exploring the internal structure and activity of Mars. press

According to the task, the researchers developed six review points: determining the size, composition and physical state of the Martian core, determining the thickness and structure of the Martian crust, determining the composition and structure of the Mars mantle, determining the thermal state on Mars, measuring the internal fire of Mars. The magnitude, speed and geographical distribution of seismic activity, measuring the speed of impact of a meteorite on the surface of Mars.

Bruce Bennett, director of the Insights project, told Nature that, despite the long history of Mars exploration, in most cases there were scratches on the surface of the planet. “For 35 years a“ drum ”appears from the ground. We need to explore the interior of Mars, ”said Bruce Bennett.

"Deepening the understanding of the neighbors of the Earth"

Insight was successfully launched on May 5th of this year. After launch, it flew 485 million kilometers, which lasted more than six months. “Insight” is inextricably linked with the landing gear “Phoenix”, which landed on Mars in 2008. Therefore, some media also refer to Insight as Phoenix 2.0. “Insight” uses the Phoenix detector platform, so the “Insight” is very similar to the Phoenix detector in appearance, but is partially adjusted according to the assignment. “Insight” is about 5.5 meters in length and has the size of a small car weighing 350 kilograms. In addition, there are two round solar panels that can be rolled out like paper fans.

Steps for a successful landing on Mars

“The former Phoenix landed on the Arctic plains of Mars and obtained many results related to the freezing, aquatic and frozen soils of the Arctic plain, and also discovered that there is water in the soil. More than 5% of the water, dew on the landing legs, found the characteristics of the water. " Zheng Yunchun, a researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a planetary expert, said.

According to previous US media reports, the landing site took four years to complete. The final landing coordinates were chosen: 4.5 ° north latitude and 135.0 ° east longitude. Since the landscape is flat, there is no ravine, and there is plenty of sunshine to charge the solar panels. In addition, the landing site is located 600 kilometers from the “Curious” Mars and can communicate with the five orbital probes of Mars that are currently working. To meet the requirements for parachute buffering during landing, the landing point must be below 2.5 km below the Martian geoid, the slope of the terrain must be less than 15 °, the stone must not be too large, the weathering layer is soft, and it is comfortable to land. And drill a hole 5 meters deep.

The first photo taken by Insights

“Since 1965, we studied Mars from orbits and surfaces to understand the weather, atmosphere, geology and chemistry of the surface of Mars,” said Lori Glaz, acting director of the planetary sciences department of NASA's science mission. Point out, “Now that NASA is preparing to send human researchers deeper into the solar system, we will eventually explore the interior of Mars and deepen our understanding of the neighbors of the Earth.”

In order to deepen the understanding of Earth’s neighbors, Insight will have three different scientific workloads, including two instruments supplied in Europe, designed to probe the deep core of the red planet. Includes seismograph equipment, geothermal flow value detectors and “rotation and internal structural test” detection equipment. Seismographs and sensors of geothermal flow value were developed by France and Germany respectively. In addition to the above three types of detection devices, it is equipped with two cameras that measure pressure, temperature and wind speed in Mars for the correction of seismograph noise. Of course, this data will also be useful for studying the weather in the Martian Sea. material.

“Using seismographs to detect earthquake waves inside, some earthquakes inside Mars are natural earthquakes, and some are earthquakes caused by the internal activity of Mars. Some asteroids and meteorites hit Mars to cause certain vibrations. ” Zheng Yunchun introduced It is believed that the propagation of seismic waves will reflect the signal. According to the interpretation of the signal, it is possible to obtain data on the internal structure and composition of Mars: is it divided into the crust, the mantle and the core of the earth? Where are the borders? The thickness of the bark exists. Problems like the basement. ”

“Earthquake is a very important tool for us to understand the inner space of the Earth, inside Mars and inside the Moon,” Zheng Yunchong added.

The heat flow detector is mainly designed to measure the temperature and gradient of a specific depth of the surface of Mars. By multiplying the temperature gradient of the substance to be measured and the thermal conductivity of the substance, the heat flux from inside the heat flux per unit area can be calculated. Based on the combination of this heat and seismic wave data, it is possible to estimate the heat evolution inside Mars. situation.

According to relevant data, heat flow can be used to understand the release of internal energy. Energy release is achieved due to the decay of internal radioactive elements, thereby assessing the internal heat of Mars. The initial situation of Mars can be determined by the model, for example, how many radioactive elements are contained at this time and how much heat is contained in the current Mars, and we are talking about the history of the internal thermal evolution and the internal structure of Mars. stratified.

In short, seismometers are used to detect stratification of the internal structure of Mars, while heat flow meter is a thermal history of the interior of Mars.

“Another example of international cooperation in the field of deep space exploration”

The “Insight” project is a project of international cooperation in the field of deep-sea space exploration. “This achievement represents the wisdom of the United States and our international partners, and demonstrates the dedication and perseverance of our team,” said NASA director Jim Brinstein. CNN reported that after a successful visit to Insight, US Vice President Peng Xi called for congratulating the entire team.

On the Insight detector, a seismograph was developed by France, and a heat flow detector was developed by Germany, and these two are two of the most important three detector devices.

"Insight" in the test

“Successful landing on Mars laid the foundation for future exploration. If the project is successfully completed, then “Insight” will be another example of international cooperation in the field of deep exploration of space, ”said Pan Zhihao.

It is worth noting that the Insights mission will also deploy two microsatellites for the experimental provision of real-time relay signals to the Earth during the landing phase. This is also the first time in the space mission using the Star Micro Satellite,

The two microsatellites used in the “Insight” mission are called “Mars Cube One” and will be launched from “Insights” and will travel to Mars. When the “insight” landed on Mars, they will fly past Mars and transmit the landing data of the “insight” to the Earth’s satellite transponder. According to NASA, Mars Cube One is similar to the Insight repeater satellite, which can significantly improve the efficiency of the Insight signal transmission. If the experimental task is successful, the future micro satellite will be applied. Learn more about the interstellar missions of the solar system.

“Mars Cube One” is just a pilot project, so communication relays cannot count on “two brothers”. Yang Yuguang said: “As the“ Insight Number ”relay mission, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter orbiter corrected the orbit to meet the“ Insight Number ”, which arrived in 2016. This can help to fix the “Insight Number” in orbit, like “Insight Number”. Ensure accurate descent orbits and personally see “insight” in the atmosphere and Mars landing, store and write data. As soon as the “discerning number” reaches the surface of Mars, the orbital reconnaissance unit will serve as a relay mission. ”


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