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Topic: NASA’s Mars InSight Lander

NASA to help Mars InSight Lander’s Heat Probe dig

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander, which is on a mission to explore the deep interior of Mars, positioned its robotic arm this past weekend to assist the spacecraft’s self-hammering heat probe. Known as “the mole,” the probe has been unable to dig more than about 14 inches (35 centimeters) since it began burying itself into the ground on February 28th, 2019.

The maneuver is in preparation for a tactic, to be tried over several weeks, called “pinning.”

NASA InSight's robotic arm will use its scoop to pin the spacecraft's heat probe, or "mole," against the wall of its hole. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA InSight’s robotic arm will use its scoop to pin the spacecraft’s heat probe, or “mole,” against the wall of its hole. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA explains Mars Solar Conjunction, Why Does It Matter?

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The daily chatter between antennas here on Earth and those on NASA spacecraft at Mars is about to get much quieter for a few weeks.

That’s because Mars and Earth will be on opposite sides of the Sun, a period known as Mars solar conjunction. The Sun expels hot, ionized gas from its corona, which extends far into space. During solar conjunction, this gas can interfere with radio signals when engineers try to communicate with spacecraft at Mars, corrupting commands and resulting in unexpected behavior from our deep space explorers.

This animation illustrates Mars solar conjunction, a period when Mars is on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth. During this time, the Sun can interrupt radio transmissions to spacecraft on and around the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This animation illustrates Mars solar conjunction, a period when Mars is on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth. During this time, the Sun can interrupt radio transmissions to spacecraft on and around the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA names Rock on Mars, “Rolling Stones Rock”

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team behind NASA’s InSight lander has named a Martian rock after the band: ‘Rolling Stones Rock.’ For decades, the music of The Rolling Stones has had a global reach here on Earth. Now, the band’s influence extends all the way to Mars. 

The Rolling Stones – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood – were delighted with the news and commented, “What a wonderful way to celebrate the ‘Stones No Filter’ tour arriving in Pasadena. This is definitely a milestone in our long and eventful history. A huge thank you to everyone at NASA for making it happen.”

The rock in the center of this image was tossed about 3 feet (1 meter) by NASA's InSight spacecraft as it touched down on Mars on November 26, 2018. The rock, which is a little bigger than a golf ball, was later nicknamed "Rolling Stones Rock" in honor of The Rolling Stones. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The rock in the center of this image was tossed about 3 feet (1 meter) by NASA’s InSight spacecraft as it touched down on Mars on November 26, 2018. The rock, which is a little bigger than a golf ball, was later nicknamed “Rolling Stones Rock” in honor of The Rolling Stones. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA takes a look at Marsquakes

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A recent set of earthquakes shook up Southern California. But NASA says Earth isn’t the only place that experiences quakes: Both the Moon and Mars have them as well. NASA sent the first seismometer to the Moon 50 years ago, during the Apollo 11 mission; the agency’s InSight lander brought the first seismometer to Mars in late 2018, and it’s called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS).

Provided by the French space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the seismometer detected its first marsquake on April 6th, 2019.

This artist's concept is a simulation of what seismic waves from a marsquake might look like as they move through different layers of the Martian interior. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ETH Zurich/ Van Driel)

This artist’s concept is a simulation of what seismic waves from a marsquake might look like as they move through different layers of the Martian interior. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ETH Zurich/ Van Driel)

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NASA’s Mars InSight Lander records first ever likely Marsquake

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars InSight lander has measured and recorded for the first time ever a likely “marsquake.”

The faint seismic signal, detected by the lander’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, was recorded on April 6th, 2019 the lander’s 128th Martian day, or sol. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Scientists still are examining the data to determine the exact cause of the signal.

This image of InSight's seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image of InSight’s seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Mars InSight Lander’s heat probe stops hammering

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars InSight lander has a probe designed to dig up to 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and measure heat coming from inside the planet.

After beginning to hammer itself into the soil on Thursday, February 28th, 2019 the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter-long) probe – part of an instrument called the Heat and Physical Properties Package, or HP3 – got about three-fourths of the way out of its housing structure before stopping.

No significant progress was seen after a second bout of hammering on Saturday, March 2nd. Data suggests the probe, known as a “mole,” is at a 15-degree tilt.

NASA's InSight lander set its heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), on the Martian surface on Feb. 12, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR)

NASA’s InSight lander set its heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), on the Martian surface on Feb. 12, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR)

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NASA announces Israeli to send Lander to the Moon

 

Written by Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The last screw is tightened and a private Moon lander is packed in the fairing atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It took eight years to get there, plus significant dedication by a small group of scientists and engineers building Israel’s first machine to leave Earth’s orbit.

Now, the highly anticipated moment is here: a shot at the first private Moon landing, and NASA is contributing to the experiment.

An Israeli spacecraft from SpaceIL is scheduled to launch Thursday, February 21st, 2019 and is aiming to touch down on Mare Serenitatis two months later.

A false color view of the Moon's southern latitudes. The large blue area at the bottom of the frame is the South Pole-Aitken Basin, an enormous and very old impact feature on the far side of the Moon. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)

A false color view of the Moon’s southern latitudes. The large blue area at the bottom of the frame is the South Pole-Aitken Basin, an enormous and very old impact feature on the far side of the Moon. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)

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NASA’s Insight Lander places Dome over Seismometer on Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  For the past several weeks, NASA’s InSight lander has been making adjustments to the seismometer it set on the Martian surface on December 19th. Now it’s reached another milestone by placing a domed shield over the seismometer to help the instrument collect accurate data.

The seismometer will give scientists their first look at the deep interior of the Red Planet, helping them understand how it and other rocky planets are formed.

The Wind and Thermal Shield helps protect the supersensitive instrument from being shaken by passing winds, which can add “noise” to its data.

NASA's InSight lander deployed its Wind and Thermal Shield on Feb. 2 (Sol 66). The shield covers InSight's seismometer, which was set down onto the Martian surface on December 19th. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s InSight lander deployed its Wind and Thermal Shield on Feb. 2 (Sol 66). The shield covers InSight’s seismometer, which was set down onto the Martian surface on December 19th. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Insight Lander places Seismometer on Surface of Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander has deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing a major mission milestone. New images from the lander show the seismometer on the ground, its copper-colored covering faintly illuminated in the Martian dusk. It looks as if all is calm and all is bright for InSight, heading into the end of the year.

“InSight’s timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped,” said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman, who is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Getting the seismometer safely on the ground is an awesome Christmas present.”

NASA's InSight lander placed its seismometer on Mars on December 19th, 2018. This was the first time a seismometer had ever been placed onto the surface of another planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s InSight lander placed its seismometer on Mars on December 19th, 2018. This was the first time a seismometer had ever been placed onto the surface of another planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Engineers setup area to mimic terrain around Mars Insight Lander

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander is due to set its first science instrument on Mars in the coming days. But engineers here on Earth already saw it happen – last week.

Like NASA’s Curiosity rover, InSight has a full-scale working model at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This sister lander, aptly named ForeSight, lets the team test all operations before they happen on Mars.

To practice how InSight will place its instruments, JPL engineers built a Martian rock garden modeled on images from the spacecraft’s cameras.

Engineers in Pasadena, California, sculpt a gravel-like material to mimic the terrain in front of NASA's InSight lander on Mars. Recreating the exact conditions will allow them to practice setting down the lander's instruments here on Earth before it's done on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPGP)

Engineers in Pasadena, California, sculpt a gravel-like material to mimic the terrain in front of NASA’s InSight lander on Mars. Recreating the exact conditions will allow them to practice setting down the lander’s instruments here on Earth before it’s done on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPGP)

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