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2018-11-26. NASA’s InSight Mission Has Touched Down on Mars to Study the Red Planet’s Deep Secrets.

posted Nov 29, 2018, 1:25 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated Dec 1, 2018, 12:46 PM ]
By Kenneth Chang, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/26/science/nasa-insight-mars-landing.html] For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: The InSight lander, NASA’s latest foray to the red planet, has landed. ...In the months ahead, InSight will begin its study of the Martian underworld, listening for tremors — marsquakes — and collect data that will be pieced together in a map of the interior of the red planet and help would help scientists understand how Mars and other rocky planets formed. ...“We can basically use Mars as a time machine to go back and look at what the Earth must have looked like a few tens of millions of years after it formed,” said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator of the mission. ... The main scientific part of the mission will not begin for a few months. ...InSight will use two main instruments: a dome-shape package containing seismometers and a heat probe that is to burrow about 16 feet down. ... Two identical spacecraft known as Mars Cube One, or MarCO for short, launched with InSight in May. MarCO A and B then separated from InSight’s cruise stage and have since been trailing behind it. ...The MarCO spacecraft relayed InSight’s telemetry to Earth flawlessly, enabling the immediate celebration. “This has been a fantastic day for spacecraft great and small,” said Andrew Klesh, the chief engineer for the CubeSats....  See also Science Magazine article NASA lander survives harrowing descent to surface of Mars [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/11/nasa-lander-will-plunge-mars-today-harrowing-6-minute-descent]