“Great sandbox” – InSight’s dream landing site

The InSight probe, which touched down on the surface of Mars last Monday, is standing at a slight angle, but this should not pose problems for exploration, NASA experts say. The landing site, which has been described by scientists as a “giant sandbox,” may prove to be an asset.

The lander, worth 993 millionodollarow has landed on the roElysium Planitia. As luck would have it, the landing site turned out to be a small crater filled with sand and dust named by the engineeroat the Jet Propulsion Laboratory „large sandbox”. Experts say they couldn’t think of a better place.

The InSight probe is slightly inclined. It stands at a slight angle, about 4 degrees. But this should not pose a problemow. Tworicians anticipated that this could happen and designed the lander to operate at an inclination of as much as 15 degrees. Therefore, they are sure that the two headsoother instruments – Seismometer and mole to measure heat below the surface – will work as planned. What’s more, „big sandbox” may favor the work of the mole created in Poland.

– We couldn’t be more pleased,” said Tom Hoffman, InSight project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. – There are no landing pads or strips on Marsow launch, so landing in an area thatory is basically a large sandbox devoid of major rocks, should make it easier to deploy instrumentoin the scientific and provide an excellent place for our mole when it begins to burrow – added.

The first images from the lander show only a few rocks in the vicinity, which is good news, since landing right next to larger rocks would cause difficulties in deploying the solar panels and setting up the instrumentoin the scientific. However, we know that the panels have unfolded without surprises and the probe is collecting energy.

Too much angle of the lander moThe heads of the roalso having problems with power consumption. But everything looks much better than it sounds. InSight using its solar panels to generate record power in cfdoIn comparison to other Martian landersow and the roverow. Almost twice as many as Curiosity.

– 4,588 kWh, whichore we collected during sol 1(sol is the Martian equivalent of an Earth day – przyp .red.), means that we now have enough energy to complete the planned tasks and move on with our mission, Hoffman pointed out.

NASA experts expect more, definitely better photos, in the coming days. The InSight probe is expected to shed its transparent, plastic dust covers, ktore protected the optics of the dwoch cameras of the spacecraft during landing. Only after receiving more photographs will the researchers decide exactly where to deploy the scientific equipment.

– We are waiting for higher resolution images to confirm the initial assessment,” said Bruce Banerdt, head of theohe chief scientist of the InSight mission at NASA. – If these few images, ktore we have received so far, they are accurate, wroIt is well zaroWell for the deployment of the instrumentow, as well as penetration using a mole in our subsurface heat flow experiment – added.

Once the objects on the surface near the probe will be carefully evaluated and a site will be selected for dwoch głownych instrumentoin the scientific, compositeoł from NASA will begin initial testing of the mechanical arm, whichore will place instruments on the surface of the Red Planet.

The InSight mission is expected to last two years. Its goal is to better understand how Earth’s neighboring planet formed. Science instruments will conduct a series of geophysical surveys, whichore will provide groundbreaking information about the planet’s internal structure and its coold of modern geological activity. The mission will provide a better understanding of the evolution and formation of Mars, as well as in ogole Earth-type planets.

First, using a robotic arm, the lander will deploy two scientific instruments – the ultra-precise SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) seismometer and the aforementioned Polish probnik heat – Mole HP3. SEIS instrument will monitor the planet’s pulse detecting vibrations caused by surface quakes, meteorite impactsoin and other such events. The mole will study the changes that are taking place in the planet’s structure. ProThe heat flux sensor is one of the mission’s most important pieces of equipment, and will be inserted at a depth of 5 metersointo the Martian ground. Never before has any device penetrated the Martian surface to such a depth.