NASA has finally determined the exact landing site of its new Mars explorer, thanks to a powerful camera on its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
While the space agency knew that InSight had landed within an 81-mile (130 km) ellipse on the red planet, there was no way to determine exactly where it had hit in this region.
Now a series of images made this week by MRO's HiRISE camera has confirmed that the lander, the heat shield and the parachute are all less than 1000 feet apart on a lava plane called Elysium Planitia.
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NASA has finally determined the exact landing site of its new Mars explorer, thanks to a powerful camera on its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While the space agency knew that InSight had landed within an 81-mile-long (130 km) ellipse on the red planet, there was no way to determine exactly where it had hit in this region
In the images released today by NASA, InSight and its parts appear as bright green-blue spots on rust-colored landscapes.
But in reality this is only a trick of light.
"Light reflected from their surfaces ensures that the color is saturated", explains NASA.
& # 39; The land around the lander seems dark and has been destroyed during the descent through its retrorockets. Look carefully at a butterfly shape and you can distinguish the solar panels of the lander on both sides. & # 39;
Only a few days ago, NASA's new InSight lander broke his first selfie from the red planet, allowing the mission team (and the rest of the world) to view its solar panels and deck as it settles into it.
InSight has also returned the first full view of the 14-by-7-foot piece of land that will soon be serving as a & # 39; workspace & # 39;
In the images released today by NASA, InSight and its parts appear as bright green-blue spots on rust-colored landscapes. But in reality this is only a trick of light
A series of images made this week by the MRO HiRISE camera confirmed that the lander (red dot), the heat shield and the parachute are all less than 1000 feet apart on a lava plane called Elysium Planitia. Previously, the space agency only knew that they had landed in an 81-mile ellipse (blue)
Each of the new images is a mosaic of several photos nailed together.
While the selfie captured by the robot arm consists of 11 photos, the workspace view contains 52 individual photos.
This allows scientists to take a good look at the area before InSight puts down its instruments and digs them into the ground.
"The near-absence of rocks, hills and holes means that it is extremely safe for our instruments", said InSight & # 39; s lead researcher Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
& # 39; This may seem like a pretty simple piece of land if it was not on Mars, but we're happy to see that. & # 39;
NASA has confirmed the landing sites for InSight, the parachute and other components thanks to new images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
InSight has previously returned the first complete representation of the 14-by-7-foot piece of land that will soon be serving as a & # 39; workspace & # 39 ;, indicated in the blue crescent. The team says it's extremely safe & # 39; looks. His parachute, back shell and heat shield all landed about 1000 feet away
Even Mars robots behave occasionally as tourists. NASA & # 39; s new InSight-lander broke off his first selfie from the red planet, so the mission team (and the rest of the world) watched its solar panels and deck well now that it's settled in
In the past week, InSight returned the first of its observations – including a clip of light that falls over the surface and photographs of Marswinden.
All this comes as the lander and the team behind his operations prepare to start work in the coming months.
For now, however, InSight takes small steps.
The lander has bent his 6-meter-long arm this week and made photos of the terrain right in front of it.
& # 39; By carefully swinging my arm in front of me, I start looking for myself to the ground where I am going to do my work & # 39 ;, tweet the NASA InSight account.
"Meanwhile, somewhat hypnotized by the play of light and shadow on my arm.
The data collected by InSight & # 39; s Seismic Experiment for Domestic Structure (SEIS) in the months before it is moved to the ground will eventually be used to neutralize background noise since it works to detect marsquakes
A few days earlier, NASA revealed that the InSight lander during the first days on the red planet heard the sound of a Martian & # 39; dust devil & # 39; caught.
According to the space agency, this is the first time we have heard Martian winds.
The low rumbling detected by InSight's sensors is estimated to range between 10 and 15 mph (5 to 7 meters per second) from northwest to southeast – and the recordings are within reach of human hearing.
NASA says the sounds recorded on December 1 are lined up with dust devilish stripes observed in the landing area.
The vibrations were recorded with a very low pitch, although those with sharp ears can hear it as it is, with the help of headphones or subwoofers.
To make it clearer, NASA increased the pitch by two octaves, making it audible on laptops and mobile devices.
The space agency shared a series of high-resolution photos that were created this week. InSight quickly begins with right-handed images of the terrain before it, so the team can select the best location to go down. The solar panel that will supply power to the machine is shown
Although InSight was not specifically intended to include the winds of Mars, the team says that this type of data collection belongs to the territory.
The lander discovered wind vibrations with two of his sensors: one designed to measure air pressure and a seismometer on the deck.
"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", says Bruce Banerdt, Chief Inspector of InSight at Jet Propulsion Lab of NASA.
& # 39; But one of the things our mission is focused on is measuring motion on Mars, and of course that includes movement caused by sound waves. & # 39;
According to the InSight team, the two different instruments recorded the sound in different ways.
This image shows some of the instruments that are visible in the selfie image that was sent to earth by InSight early Tuesday morning.
THE THREE KEY INSTRUMENTS OF INSIGHT
The lander who could reveal how the earth was formed: InSight lander landed Mars on 26 November
The InSight Lander & # 39; can take the pulse with three important instruments & # 39; from the red planet:
seismometer: The InSight lander wears one seismometer, SEIS, that listens to the pulse of Mars.
The seismometer records the waves traveling through the inner structure of a planet.
Studying seismic waves tells us what the waves could be.
On Mars scientists suspect that the culprits might be marsquakes or that meteorites fall on the surface.
Heat probe: The InSight heat pump probe, HP3, rakes deeper than other scoops, drills or probes on Mars.
It will investigate how much heat still flows from Mars.
Radio antennas: Like the earth, Mars wobbles a bit when it rotates around its axis.
To study this, two radio antennas, part of the RISE instrument, closely follow the location of the lander.
This helps scientists test the planet's reflexes and tells them how the deep inner structure affects the movement of the planet around the sun.
While the air pressure sensor of the auxiliary charging sensor subsystem recorded the vibrations directly, the seismometer absorbed vibrations because the wind passed over the solar panels of the lander.
The data collected by InSight & # 39; s Seismic Experiment for Domestic Structure (SEIS) in the months before it shifts to the ground will eventually be used to neutralize background noise as it works to detect marsquakes.
The short-term silicon sensors (SP) can detect vibrations with frequencies up to 50 hertz, which is on the lower range of human hearing, NASA says.
The InSight Lander behaves like a gigantic ear, says Tom Pike, InSight Science team member and sensor, designed at Imperial College in London.
The solar panels on the side of the lander respond to pressure fluctuations of the wind.
It is as if InSight is forming its ears and the Marswind is knocking. When we looked at the direction of the vibrations of the lander from the solar panels, it corresponds to the expected wind direction on our landing site. & # 39;
InSight gets into a region known as Elysium Planitia. The location can be seen on the map above, not far from the landing site of the Curiosity mission of 2012, the last NASA probe to land on Mars.
NASA & # 39; s InSight-lander has finally removed the lens cover from its camera, so the robotic explorer can make his clearest photo's so far from his new home
The team has released both a raw, unmodified audio sample from the seismometer recording and a second version that has been raised two octaves to make it easier to hear.
For the latter, the APSS sample was accelerated by a factor of 100.
According to the experts, the source of the sound is fairly simple; vibrations detected by the instruments are very similar to the changes in air pressure that you hear when a flag swings around in the wind.
"That's literally what sound is – changes in atmospheric pressure," said Don Insight's scientific lead for APSS at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
& # 39; You hear that when you talk to someone around the room. & # 39;