InSight Deploys Solar Panels On Mars – The Robotic Arm Is Next
We recently reported that Mars has one more probe on its surface. Now, six years after Curiosity, the NASA’s InSight lander finally touched down gently at Elysium Planitia landing site. With this mission, NASA becomes the first to study seismology and the depths of the Red Planet.
After a seven-month journey and 484,773,006 kilometers between Earth and Mars, NASA’s InSight spacecraft successfully landed on the Red Planet.
InSight landed at 2:54 ET on Elysium Planitia, just seven minutes after it entered the Martian atmosphere. These seven minutes were filled with terror because the probe went from a speed of 20,000 km/h to a complete stop.
The lander successfully deployed the solar panels
Anyway, NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter relayed signals that the lander has been able to successfully deploy its solar panels after it landed on the Red Planet. This means that the lander will be able to recharge its batteries for surface operations.
The team can chill for a little while know that we all know that the spacecraft solar arrays have been deployed and the batteries are recharging, according to Tom Hoffman, InSight’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
NASA further quoted Hoffman as saying, “It’s been a long day for the team. But tomorrow begins an exciting new chapter for InSight: surface operations and the beginning of the instrument deployment phase.”
Operations will be supported for two years
These solar panels are designed to provide 600-700 watts on a clear day which is just enough to sustain the tools that will be used to study the inner workings on Mars.
These panels will be producing at least 200-300 watts even during the dusty conditions on the planet.
The solar arrays are about seven feet tall, and they are basically an upgraded version of the ones that are used with NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. These changes will ensure that operations are supported for one full Mars year which translates in two Earth years.
What’s next? Well, the team is going to deploy the lander’s robotic arm and use the attached camera to click pics of the surroundings.
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