It all boils down to the final six minutes of six months traveling to Mars.
InSight NASA spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere at supersonic speed and then hit the brakes to get to the soft, safe landing on alien red plains.
After each step the micro level road, controllers will be powerless over what happens at the end of the road Monday, about 160 million kilometers. Lag relationship between Mars and Earth is eight minutes.
"By that time, when we hear something that all of this has already been done," said project manager Tom Hoffman NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"Either it happened or did not happen."
Any small change at the last minute to be completed 1 ½ hours before landing, said Rob Grover, chief engineer of the landing team.
"All of our efforts to ensure that we successfully all happen in the next few years before that," he explained.
A summary of do or extrusion entry, descent and landing penetration in essence: six minutes before landing
Insight will come as a 19800-km per hour arrows penetrating the upper part of the atmosphere of Mars about 114 km above the surface. Engineers are shooting at an angle of 12 degrees of attack, almost parallel to the ground.
Too steep, the spacecraft could burn. Is too small, it can bounce back into space. Atmospheric friction slows the spacecraft, but it creates heat.
Its heat shield is made to withstand 2700 degrees Fahrenheit (1500 degrees Celsius). After discernment to 11 kilometers, his parachute opened at a dizzying 1,400 km per hour.
Shortly after the white nylon parachute opens with a jerk, the InSight ditch its heat shield and deploys its three legs. After two minutes, decreasing under a parachute, spacecraft, even supersonic, it starts to use the radar to determine the speed and height of approximately 2 ½ kilometers up.
Less than a minute remained before landing. Due to the speed at the present time to 215 kilometers per hour, lander resets its back shell and parachute. It is less than a mile (one kilometer) above the ground.
Almost immediately, 12 Coiled engines INSIGHT start shooting for further slowing the descent vehicle and keep him away from the severed back shell, still falls under the parachute. Lander makes itself so its solar panels will be extended to the east and west on the landing, and the robot arm faces south. INSIGHT speed is now 27 km per hour at an altitude of 50 meters.
Currently, so-called constant-speed mode, the InSight is committed to 8 kilometers per hour landing in the valley near the equator called Eliza.
There he will dig deep to measure heat and & # 39; volume with marsquakes for a full Martian year, or two Earth years. NASA chose this place because it should be relatively smooth and free of large stones, which could impede scientific papers. Parking near the equator ensures an optimal sunlight for solar energy.
"This is a very safe place to land," said Grover at a press conference on Wednesday.
It will be around 2 pm Mars time when the earth insight. It's 3 pm on the East Coast and in the afternoon to control the flight of JPL in Pasadena, California.
According to NASA estimates the temperature may be in the teens or even single digits Fahrenheit (below zero Celsius). Night minima can reach minus 140 degrees F (minus 96 degrees Celsius).
This winter on Mars. "Probably do not need an umbrella, but you may need a coat and would definitely recommend the suit, as if you are there at the landing site," Grover joked with reporters, describing the bone dry Martian plain.
GOOD DAY? GOOD DAY?
Since leaving the Earth in May, InSight was overshadowed by WALL-E and EVE, the first satellites Cubesat venture into deep space.
Satellites suitcase size, named in honor of the heroes of the 2008 animated film will be held in several thousand kilometers of Mars, as well as INSIGHT land.
NASA hopes that one or both radio relay in INSIGHT. If the experiment succeeds, managers may be able to follow the descent and landing INSIGHT, although with a delay of more than eight minutes at best. Otherwise, the news will flow from the NASA Mars orbital machines.
NOW fly the bird:
INSIGHT first job, just a few minutes after landing, to take a picture. Ground controllers want to see what they're up against. Large rocks or hillside and can prevent geology experiments stationary lander. After the red dust settles about 16 minutes after landing, the lander will spread its solar panels and settle in their first long-haired winter on Mars.