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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter takes pictures of InSight Lander from Space

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On November 26th, 2018 NASA’s InSight mission knew the spacecraft touched down within an 81-mile-long (130-kilometer-long) landing ellipse on Mars. Now, the team has pinpointed InSight’s exact location using images from HiRISE, a powerful camera onboard another NASA spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The InSight lander, its heat shield and parachute were spotted by HiRISE (which stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment), which is onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, in one set of images last week on December 6th, and again on Tuesday, December 11th.

NASA's InSight lander on the surface of Mars imaged by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

NASA’s InSight lander on the surface of Mars imaged by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

The lander, heat shield and parachute are within 1,000 feet (several hundred meters) of one another on Elysium Planitia, the flat lava plain selected as InSight’s landing location.

This isn’t the first time HiRISE has photographed a Mars lander.

InSight is based largely on 2008’s Phoenix spacecraft, which the camera aboard MRO captured on the surface of Mars as well as descending on its parachute.

While the HiRISE team at the University of Arizona also tried to take an image of InSight during landing, MRO was at a much less opportune angle and wasn’t able to take a good picture.

An annotated image of the surface of Mars, taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on May 30, 2014. The annotations - added after InSight landed on Nov. 26, 2018 - display the locations of NASA's InSight lander, its heat shield and parachute. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

An annotated image of the surface of Mars, taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on May 30, 2014. The annotations – added after InSight landed on Nov. 26, 2018 – display the locations of NASA’s InSight lander, its heat shield and parachute. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

About the NASA InSight Lander

JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.

A number of European partners, including France’s Centre National d’√Čtudes Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission.

CNES and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and JPL.

DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain’s Centro de Astrobiolog√≠a (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.


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