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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Off To Mars

Off To Mars

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, May 5, 2018/Categories: video, art and design, environment

                              Mars InSight Launched from Vanderberg AF Base, 5-5-2018 (credit: JPL)

NASA's newest science robot was launched to Mars. InSight Mars Lander departed in a blazing lift-off from California's Vandenberg Airforce Base today. According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that built the geology probe, InSight road the Centaur rocket's second stage and reached orbit 13 minutes after launch. An hour later, the rocket ignited a second time, sending InSight on a trajectory towards the Red Planet. Ths spacecraft, carrying two CubeSats, then separated from the rocket and is now on its way to Mars. According to JPL, the two mini-satellites are designed to monitor the InSight lander for a brief period around landing and transmit the information back to the mission controllers. They serve as a demonstration of potential future, deep-space communications capability.

For the next six months, JPL engineers will check InSight's computers, instruments, solar arrays, and antenna to determine everything is oriented correctly, working properly, and on course. Once the the lander has successfully arrived on Mars, it will drill into the Martian surface and collect data on marsquakes, heat flow from the planet's interior, and the way the planet wobbles. The data will help researchers to better understand how Mars geologically works and also the processes that shaped the four rocky planets of our solar system.

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