Martian probe InSight successfully working on the Red Planet
Not only rovers work on the surface of Mars, but also landing modules. Rather, the module - it is about InSight , successfully descended to the surface of Mars at the end of last year. Now the module is already conducting scientific observations of tremors on Mars.
Observations were made possible by a specially designed seismometer. It is protected from dust, wind and vibrations by means of a lid, which helps to ensure that the module works for a long time.
According to representatives of NASA, the biggest problem in the study of Mars - the differences and temperature fluctuations. In order that the temperature factor does not affect the seismometer, it was also protected with a cover that makes the seismometer look like anything but a scientific module. It helps to keep the temperature at the same level, and also protects the device from the impact of the Martian atmosphere.
The seismometer is installed at one of the planet’s safest points on the planet’s surface; here it is practically unaffected. About two weeks it took scientists to stabilize the position of the sensor and correctly calibrate it. The seismometer will help scientists observe the geological events on Mars - of course, if the planet is not geologically dead.
By the way, it was because of the seismometer that the launch date of the device was postponed several times. Initially, they wanted to send him to the Red Planet in March 2016. Then it turned out that the SEIS seismometer is faulty, so the platform was left on Earth for two years, during which experts were engaged in troubleshooting.
After the seismometer passed a routine check after fixing technical problems, the agency planned a new launch date. After that, the system went to Mars on the correct schedule, the launch date was no longer postponed.
It is worth recalling that Insight is the heir to the probe "Phoenix" , which sat on Mars in 2008. He was looking for traces of life and water in the soil of the planet.
There are other instruments onboard the InSight that help monitor conditions on the surface of Mars. The most important module is the drill, which will drill a 5 m deep hole in the surface.
The HP3 tool (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) was placed on the planet's surface the other day, 1.5 meters from the landing platform itself. It will allow to drill a well of record depth for studying heat flows. Until now, the maximum depth of a well, made by earth machines, was 22 centimeters. She was drilled by the Viking 1.
The module will study various characteristics of the surface of Mars, including the thermal conductivity of Martian soil. The module will explore the structure and composition of Mars for about two years. If the system remains operable after this time, it will be used further - as it happened, for example, with Opportunity, which worked for 15 days instead of 90 days.
The main scientific objectives of the Insight mission:
- Study and analysis of the process of geological evolution of the terrestrial planets of the solar system, including Mars and Earth;
- Determination of the size, composition and state of aggregation of the planet’s core;
- Determination of the thickness and structure of the crust of Mars;
- Determination of the composition and structure of the mantle;
- Determination of the temperature of the inner layers of the planet;
- Study of the current level of tectonic activity and frequency of meteorites falling on the surface of Mars;
- Determination of the strength, frequency and geographical distribution of tectonic activity.
The platform has two cameras. The first one, in black and white, will be used to take tools onboard and create three-dimensional images of the surface. The second camera with similar characteristics and a field of view of 120 degrees is similar to the cameras of other rovers, which are called “HazCam” . It is installed on the bottom surface of the landing module, which allows for visual contact with the tools of SEIS and HP3.
InSight was launched two years late. The launch of the device was to take place in March 2016, but it turned out that its main scientific instrument, the SEIS seismometer, is faulty. For this reason, the agency canceled the launch and took up a solution to the problem.