An artistic vision of the InSight landing pad on Mars. Landing will be held November 26, 2018
November 26 is the long-awaited arrival of NASA's InSight spacecraft to Mars. The mission, worth $ 850 million, will delight scientists and researchers if it can land softly, as it did on August 5, 2012 with the landing of the Curiosity rover.
However, 100% guarantee of success can not be. The engineers did everything to ensure that the landing process went well. It is necessary to perform many steps to move from the upper atmosphere to the surface, and each movement must be as accurate as possible.
The most important steps for the InSight include leveling to immerse yourself in the Martian atmosphere with an accuracy of 12 degrees, deploying a parachute, landing legs and starting engines for a final soft landing. All this will take 6 minutes (the time of the flight InSight in the Martian air).
InSight will land near the Curiosity rover - the flat Elysium plain. It is important to note that this is a mild terrain. The device is interested in studies of the internal structure of Mars, and not its surface. Therefore, mountains, canyons and rocks will only complicate the landing. InSight uses two main tools for scientific work: a digging thermal probe and a set of ultrasensitive seismometers. The collected data will allow to obtain more information about the internal structure and composition of the Red Planet. In addition, the researchers activate communication equipment to track small fluctuations of the axis of rotation of Mars, which will help to learn more about the core of the planet.
The InSight space platform was launched on May 5 using the Atlas-5 rocket. Tiny satellites MarCO-A and MarCO-B also arrived with her. This duet is designed to test the possibility of exploring outer space by small satellites. The satellites will also attempt to transmit data during the InSight landing period, although this is a MRO task.