Seven years of work, seven months of traveling through space and "terror" in just seven minutes: the US probe InSight Finally, on Monday, he is ready to touch the surface Mars Maneuvering through a dangerous landing.
The NASA engineers who continue to operate the ground do not have to cross their fingers: at the entrance to the Martian atmosphere, in contact with their storms, All the scheduled hours have been arranged in time.
Although it is a signal that is more cruel InSight Safe and sound Martian surface will run for eight minutes in Pasadena, California's mission control center.
"With Mars nothing is ever certified. Mars is difficult, "he summarized Thomas Zurbuch's scientist's summary NASAThat is to say, it has approved a $ 1 billion mission to study the core of the planet.
An artifact is the first time it tries to quit About Mars, after the Curiosity vehicle NASAOnly on the surface of the red planet.
Faster than bullet
InSight Mars must enter the atmosphere at 7:47 PM GMT, obliquely to avoid flying the piece.
He just rubbed it The atmosphere will cause the temperature to rise rapidly at 1,500 ° CBut the reinforced probe is built with a thermal shield to withstand the impact.
Probe It will reach 20,000 km / hthree and four times faster than the rifle bullet, and the 10 kilometer rectangular area reaches 24 km. Starting at a point in the Earth, after 480 million kilometers, "he wants to achieve a goal of 130,000 kilometers," says NASA.
Four minutes and a hundred kilometers away, a parachute will open automatically, slowing down quickly. Then, after opening the heat shield, the device opens three feet and the parachute disappears.
"We will have a free fall for a moment, which is a terrifying thought for me," said Tom Hoffman, Head of NASA's InSight project.
The fire emits rapidly its 12 retrochannels, slowing down at 8 km / h, while the device's decrease is greater than 365 kg.
At 7:54 PM GMT, seven minutes after the first contact in the atmosphere, InSight should finally "knead".
Magma and temperature
At that time, "six and a half minutes of terrorism" were baptized, nothing, and no one was going to direct InSight to solve his career or to resolve the blame.
"I'm very calm, but at the same time very nervous," said Hoffman.
"We have made the mission to ensure the success of the mission, but you never know what will happen," he said lately, "recognizing that he has not been feeling very well".
Engineers and their colleagues, including many European scientists who have helped avant-garde tools that travel by InSight aboard, have to wait until 20h01 GMT to receive the first signal sent by us. There is no doubt that he was very well and well-stabilized at three feet.
InSight will open later, slowly, solar panels to power your tools. From now on, a busy job program is waiting for you.
He has to listen to and analyze in March, millions of years ago, to explain the mysteries of his formation. To find out more about understanding the Earth's formation later on, it is the only rocky planet in the interior of the interior.