NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is almost ready for the construction of the upcoming Martian rover. The machine enjoyed the help of Lockheed Martin as well. It was dubbed as InSight and it will officially launch into space next year. Its core mission will be to study the deep layers of the Red Planet.
Upcoming Martian Rover Is Called InSight and Will Study the Interior of the Red Planet
At the moment, NASA is running numerous tests and also assembling their next Martian lander in the facilities of Lockheed Martin in Colorado. If all goes according to plan, they will have their promising launch in May 2018. InSight which is an almost perfect acronym for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport will enter space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The spacecraft program manager at Lockheed Martin, Stu Spath, stated that works on the upcoming Martian rover had been resumed. The construction is finished and received the necessary instruments to activate it. However, the team still needs time and resources for final tests. These include thermal balance, instrument deployments, and acoustics tests.
The final result will measure no more than 20 feet in length. Researchers inspired from the art of origami to fold two solar panels. While inactive, they don’t take up much room. However, once the machine reaches Mars, it will deploy the instruments to charge its batteries on the spot.
Scientists Hope InSight Will Allow Them to Learn about Planet Genesis
The next move for InSight will be to plant two instruments into the ground. These will be a heat probe and a seismometer. This way, the agency hopes to record data about the underground of the planet the moment these tools detect “marsquakes” or meteor crashes into the planet.
However, scientists are not only interested in the present state of the planet. Instead, they believe that the lesser deteriorated Martian interior can provide them with pictures of the past. This way, they can learn more about planet formations. The heat probe will reach 10 feet under the ground and will record heat levels.
The lander was initially programmed for launch in May 2016. However, technical issues delayed the project for two years. Scientists expect the spacecraft to land on the Red Planet by November 2018.
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