“The valley” on Mars: what NASA is looking for in the soil of the red planet
What unique can be found on Mars after decades of research and why scientists are going to drill the surface of the planet?
NASA launched the Mars spacecraft InSight — the first robot able to drill on the red planet. The new head of the Agency, James Breidenstein described the new mission as “extraordinary”, but is a unique device, following a successful Opportunity and Curiosity Rovers and orbital probes?
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The first attempt to get to the Red planet began in the early 1960, even before the launch into space the first man, Yuri Gagarin. The long journey to Mars began on 10 October 1960 with the launch from Baikonur of the Soviet automatic interplanetary station “Mars”. The launch failed because of the accident the carrier rocket, the spacecraft failed to reach even the Earth’s orbit. The next four attempts, the Soviet Union also failed.
The failure was accompanied by the Americans: first NASA ready to shoot for the Mars, Mariner 3, was launched into an unplanned trajectory and failed to reach the goal.
Successful was the spacecraft Mariner 4, Mariner-6 and Mariner-7 — in the period from 1965 to 1969 they approached Mars at a distance of several thousand kilometers, passing down the information about the temperature on the surface of the fourth planet, her atmosphere, as well as the first pictures of Mars from as close as possible at that time point.
Further unsuccessful attempts of the USSR and the United States to win the right to be the first to land on the planet ended ambiguously.
27 November 1971 Soviet apparatus “Mars-2”, successfully reached the destination, could not perform a soft landing and crashed on the planet’s surface. It was the first man-made object from Earth, stranded on the red planet’s surface, soon followed, 2 December 1971, the Soviet “Mars-3” successfully landed on the surface of Mars for the first time was able to transmit the video signal and measuring the temperature and atmospheric parameters of the planet. Unfortunately, the program ended shortly after landing. But from that moment began the countdown era of Mars exploration vehicles directly on its surface: in 1976, NASA planted on Mars spacecraft “Viking 1” and “Viking 2” spacecraft to study the composition of Martian soil.
A new stage in the study of Mars came in 1996, when the American Mars Pathfinder successfully started to work on the red planet.NewsRussian instrument found water on Mars
The machine was equipped with devices to measure wind speed and magnetic field, and, among other things, “released” onto the planet’s surface the first mini-Rover Sojourner. Since then, on the surface of Mars landed mostly “Rovers” — in particular, self-propelled vehicles Spirit and Opportunity, launched on the planet in 2004. NASA has spent on them a total of about $800 million, but they were equipped with a record at the time the set of devices, in particular, the panoramic camera and spectrometers to study the Martian soil. One of the objectives was to study the Martian soil to determine the presence of water. The fact that liquid water is one of the prerequisites for the existence known to us protein life forms.
In 2012, Mars began work Curiosity, the development, delivery and maintenance of which NASA spent $2.5 billion Is one of the most ambitious projects of the American Agency — the biggest task of the Rover is to search for the answer to the question of possible life on Mars and therefore consideration of the necessary conditions. The device is able to independently take soil samples and have them analyzed. In addition, the Rover can drill a small hole in the rock to study its composition and origin.
Dokapyvayas to the truth
New research unit InSight, in spite of a kind of “fashion” is not a Rover — the robot has no wheels and it won’t surf the Martian expanses, but the machine has something to offer to scientists on Earth.
The robot stands out with the ability to literally delve into the study of the red planet on 6 meters using a drill.
The key objective of the mission is the study of the planet, allowing scientists to understand the formation of Earth-like planets.
Previous missions to Mars have investigated the surface, exploring canyons, volcanoes, mountains and soil. But to understand how the planet was formed, research should be carried out under its surface, — noted in NASA.
That this will and machine: InSight will measure seismic activity of Mars and the composition of the interior of the planet, the temperature of the soil also after its chemical analysis.
Also the research results will allow scientists to draw conclusions regarding the core and mantle of the red planet. It is possible that the regularities of formation of the planets can be extended to other terrestrial planets (which include Mars), and we learn more about the internal structure of our Earth.
Also mission InSight will be the first in which the orbit of Mars will be withdrawn two cubita (ultra-small artificial satellites): “Wally” and “eve”. In the experiment, NASA will try to use the devices named in honor of the heroes of the popular cartoon, to transfer data from InSight Earth at the time of its descent to Mars.
My little inspiration for today ☺ this #Disney #WallE #Eva #TrueLove pic.twitter.com/5ovFZQBZUB
— Jessica Colomer (@LoyalJessy) February 28, 2015
Valli and eve, the heroes of the cartoon “Wally”Mars rules earth policy
The administration of U.S. President promised full support to the projects of the Agency, and the trump signed a Directive on space policy, which sets new ambitious goals NASA: in particular, missions to the moon, Mars. But he chose to head the Agency’s very controversial figure.
The new head of NASA, James Breidenstein stressed that the launch of InSight — the “big day”, adding that the US “return to Mars”, and the mission offers scientists many opportunities that they can try out for the first time.
Thus, Breidenstein silent, as far as he personally needed the success of the mission to Mars, to prove his ability to manage the Agency. His first step after coming to the helm last month, is the closure of the program launch lunar Rover in 2020. If, therefore, Breidenstein will not be able to realize the objectives for the study of Mars, to stand on his defense to be just nobody, and the organization may once again be in the position where she directs the acting Director.
And the formal head of the organization is needed more than ever: NASA is actively developing new carrier rocket SLS and Orion spacecraft — the future flagship of the Agency in the conquest of the Solar system, is preparing to conclude the long-suffering space telescope named James Webb, and by the way, a new Rover Mars 2020. The device will be equipped with instruments to study the Geology, atmosphere, climate conditions of Mars, as well as wheels. The latter is a concern — Bridenstine complicated relationship with the Rovers.