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NASA Commemorates InSight’s First Earth Year

NASA InSight

Year one on Mars: NASA commemorates the InSight’s first full earth year on the red planet on November 26, 2019. On November 26, 2018, the Mars lander performed its 6 minutes of horror accurately: including the entry, the drop, and the touchdown on the surface, sparking crazy and fun celebrations at NASA’s Jet Propulsions Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the station controlling the mission. InSight is the acronym for the mission’s full name, Interior Exploration using the Seismic Investigations, Geodesy as well as Heat Transport.

The year has been a fascinating one for the probe, which has been exploring the planet form its landing site ever since. More than 150 seismic incidents, about two dozen of which have been verified as marsquakes, have been identified by InSight’s sensitive seismometer.

A sub-surface heat probe named the Heat Flow as well as Physical Properties Package (HP3), the additional research equipment on the InSight, has had a rougher time on the planet. The HP3’s self-hammering tool, nicknamed the ‘mole,’ was initially designed to explore 3 to 5 m below the surface but has only been able to burrow only about 0.3 meters underground so far. The mole also emerged unexpectedly from its burrow. The researchers on the InSight mission are looking for solutions to these problems, which may be induced by the peculiar soil of Mars.

The team is already making headway into the probe, gaining a few more centimeters using a “pinning” technique, which entails pressing soil against the mole’s sides to generate additional friction. Even though the mole might not make it to its target, the team has already learned many exciting things about the Red Planet, including the discovery that Martian soil seems to be very cohesive despite its very dusty nature.

The craft, powered by solar energy, is expected to continue exploring the planet for a minimum of two years. NASA officials said that the information collected during the project would help scientists better comprehend how rocky planets form and develop. NASA was also celebrating another anniversary on the same day, commemorating the Curiosity rover’s launch from the Space Coast on November 26, 2011.

The Curiosity is powered by nuclear energy and made its landing on the Gale Crater site. It has already established that the floor of the 154-kilometer wide crater could have supported life much like earth in its ancient times. The car-sized explorer remains secure and is currently scaling the 5.5-kilometre high mountain in the middle of the Gale Crater.

This post was originally published on Market Research Sheets

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Sarah Lacy

Sarah Lacy

Sarah Lacy is a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.
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