On Monday, November 26th, NASA’s latest piece of high-tech house {hardware} will lastly discover its approach to the floor of Mars. It’s the InSight lander, and it’s going to hear intently to the heartbeat of the planet and hopefully reveal an entire bunch of superior secrets and techniques about Mars, however earlier than it does that, it wants to really, properly, land.

NASA will likely be reside streaming a feed from mission management, providing commentary and updates on the standing of the mission in actual time. In the event you simply can’t await the massive day to return, NASA simply printed a timeline of when it expects to achieve particular factors within the touchdown course of, proper right down to the minute, and it’s fairly attention-grabbing.

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All of it begins at 2:40 p.m. EST, with the separation of the lander from the rocket stage that pushed all of it the best way to Mars, and that’s when the actual enjoyable begins. Right here’s a full breakdown, by way of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

  • 11:40 a.m. PST (2:40 p.m. EST) – Separation from the cruise stage that carried the mission to Mars
  • 11:41 a.m. PST (2:41 p.m. EST) – Flip to orient the spacecraft correctly for atmospheric entry
  • 11:47 a.m. PST (2:47 p.m. EST) – Atmospheric entry at about 12,300 mph (19,800 kph), starting the entry, descent and touchdown section
  • 11:49 a.m. PST (2:49 p.m. EST) – Peak heating of the protecting warmth defend reaches about 2,700°F (about 1,500°C)
  • 15 seconds later – Peak deceleration, with the extreme heating inflicting potential non permanent dropouts in radio indicators
  • 11:51 a.m. PST (2:51 p.m. EST) – Parachute deployment
  • 15 seconds later – Separation from the warmth defend
  • 10 seconds later – Deployment of the lander’s three legs
  • 11:52 a.m. PST (2:52 p.m. EST) – Activation of the radar that can sense the space to the bottom
  • 11:53 a.m. PST (2:53 p.m. EST) – First acquisition of the radar sign
  • 20 seconds later – Separation from the again shell and parachute
  • 0.5 second later – The retrorockets, or descent engines, start firing
  • 2.5 seconds later – Begin of the “gravity flip” to get the lander into the right orientation for touchdown
  • 22 seconds later – InSight begins slowing to a continuing velocity (from 17 mph to a continuing 5 mph, or from 27 kph to eight kph) for its comfortable touchdown
  • 11:54 a.m. PST (2:54 p.m. EST) – Anticipated landing on the floor of Mars
  • 12:01 p.m. PST (3:01 p.m. EST) – “Beep” from InSight’s X-band radio straight again to Earth, indicating InSight is alive and performing on the floor of Mars
  • No sooner than 12:04 p.m. PST (3:04 p.m. EST), however probably the following day – First picture from InSight on the floor of Mars
  • No sooner than 5:35 p.m. PST (8:35 p.m. EST) – Affirmation from InSight by way of NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter that InSight’s photo voltaic arrays have deployed

As you’ll be able to see from the schedule, your complete touchdown course of goes to take a number of hours to finish, and there are many locations the place one thing may go awry. NASA has a exceptional observe report of profitable Mars landings so we’re not anticipating any mishaps, however JPL’s mission management will likely be on the fringe of its seat your complete time.


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