Surprising Science From NASA’s In Sight Mars Mission

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Illustration by Jaime Aparicio

Traveling beyond the reaches of outer space has been in the interests of mankind for quite sometime. Reaching and studying other planets in our solar system can possibly help us understand our home world as well as, one day, inhabiting new alien surfaces.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) built the InSight Lander which launched  Saturday, May 5, 2018 to study Earth’s neighboring planet Mars more prominent. NASA’s workers create technology to study more about the red planet that is 140 million miles away from Earth. On Monday, November 26, the InSight space rocket flew straight to Mars to examine the planet. Their goal is to study more on the temperatures, winds, and the geology of Mars.

Below Ground

The new technology that the NASA team built already has been successful while being on Mars. During the early stages the InSight mission is to look deep beneath the martian surface. The machine has special tools that can detect earthquakes  called a seismometer. The seismometer has enabled workers to listen for multiple earthquakes from hundreds to thousands of miles away. Also, it measures the pulse of Mars by testing waves created by Mars tremors, thumps of meteorite impacts. Even surface vibrations generated by activity in Mars’ atmosphere and by weather phenomena such as dust storms. Scientists are keeping their fingers crossed if the seismometer can detect a bigger quake.

At The Surface 

Another tool that InSight  has is the magnetometer for it is the first device on the surface of Mars to detect magnetic signals. The device measures the direction, strength, or relative change of a magnetic field at a particular location. Moreover, the machine detects signals at homestead hollow that are 10 times stronger than what was predicted based on data from orbiting spacecraft that study the area. The measurements  of these orbiters are averaged over a couple of hundred miles, whereas InSight’s measurements are more local. It also detects the signals induced in the ionosphere by the solar wind interaction, and possibly atmospheric phenomena that generates electric currents, such as lightning and dust devils.

Taking the Temperature

The heat flow probe is another key tool to study Mars well. It’s designed to take temperature telling how much heat is still flowing out of the interior of the planet. In Fact. the Mole drills down to almost 16 feet (five meters) into Mars’ surface. This helps scientists regulate whether Mars formed from the same stuff as Earth and the Moon. The unique part is it gives them an experience into how the planet evolved.

With all those instruments at its disposal, the InSight Lander can study the red plant better and it’s helping scientists experience on how Mars looks.

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