Tour of the test lab of the Martian apparatus

Tour of the test lab of the Martian apparatus

Engineers use a copy of NASA's InSight landing gear, which will land on Mars this year.

The NASA InSight landing gear is due to land in the Red Planet in November 2018. His robotic arm is used to capture and move objects.

Engineers and scientists have an exact copy of InSight in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (California). They conduct tests to simulate all the functions of a spacecraft in order to prepare for any scenario.

InSight's mission is unique in that it is a landing gear, not a rover: that is, after landing, it will not be able to move. His task is to stay in place and collect information with high accuracy. The test bench is located on a special facility “Laboratory of In-Situ Instruments” that simulates a mixture of sand and gravel found on the Martian surface. The legs of the device rise and fall with a slope of up to 15 degrees.

The laboratory allows to consider various conditions of landing and behavior of the device. The installation of three scientific instruments is also practiced: an ultrasensitive seismometer, an isolating screen from wind and temperature fluctuations, and a heat flow sensor.

All these manipulations are carried out so that InSight safely places objects on any landing pad. One problem is the bindings that provide power for each scientific instrument. Each cable is cracked when the hand lifts the tool from the landing gear. There is a scenario where these bindings intersect each other, so you should make sure that they do not catch.

The test facility also simulates Martian lighting. Special lights are used to calibrate the camera apparatus to the brightness of the color of the solar lighting of the Red Planet. InSight will be the first mission dedicated to the study of the deep Martian interior, including the mantle and core.

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