NASA confirms Mars lander on way to red planet

James Marshall
May 7, 2018

Its mission is to help scientist draw the first detailed map of the interior structure of Mars.

Managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, InSight will be the first mission to peer beneath the surface and take the vital signs of the planet.

The US space agency has received radio signals indicating that the first-ever CubeSats headed to deep space are alive and well.

NASA now has five other spacecraft's operating on or above mars.

The Mars Cube One team, officially called MarCO-A and MarCO-B, left early Saturday morning, shooting up into the skies over California's Vandenberg Air Force Base with NASA's InSight Mars lander.

Soon after the May 5 launch, the twin satellites unfolded their solar panels, just as they were programed to do, and beamed two radio signals back to Earth. Secondly, the spacecraft have to deploy their solar arrays, stabilize their attitude, turn toward the Sun and turn on their radios before sending any more signals home. The computers inside each MarCO CubeSat have not been turned on since being tested at California Polytechnic State University in the U.S. in mid-March, where they were prepared for launch. Because of this, the cubesats have been nicknamed Wall-E and Eva, after the two robots in the Pixar film, "Wall-E".

The MarCO mission will end right after the cubesats make it past Mars.

If these fearless little satellites make it to Mars and survive the extreme radiation conditions of deep space, "they'll fly over the Red Planet during InSight's entry, descent and landing" scheduled for November 26, NASA shows in the news release.

"InSight's seismometer will measure earthquakes - or more properly, 'Marsquakes.' Quakes on Mars don't happen as frequently as they do on Earth, but they do occur and have been detected by previous Mars landers".

NASA's newest Mars explorer has busted out of Earth orbit and is zooming toward the red planet.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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