The news arrived that NASA (again) in Mars had two silent accompaniment, but in practice they were fundamental so that the world knew that the Insight look successfully landed on the red planet. They are Wall-E and Eva, two nanosatelyn who worked as guardians of the robot that will explore the Mediterranean soil. They followed the operation from a distance and in minutes the confirmation was sent to the Earth that everything had gone well.
Satellites call attention by name. Although they are formally MarCO-A and MarCO-B (for the program they are part of), NASA scientists have been named as the characters in the Pixar 2008. Two are for a simple reason: if one failed, the other could continue the only mission.
The two letters in the MarCO program that followed Insight's landing. (AP)
The MarCO mission, which NASA explains on the site of the Insight search engine, has been built to test whether these two experimental space ships can be – short card size – survive the trip to a deep space. Both these nanosatelites called CubeSats proved more than capable.
For seven months they traveled from Earth to March behind Insight's sense and then placed them in the edges to be able to transfer the details of the landing, which took shape this Monday.
"WALL-E and EVA worked exactly as we expected," said Marko's main engineer Andy Klesh from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. That's where the CubeSats were developers. "They were an excellent test of how it can serve in future trips," updating the landing status to the minute.
As indicated by the space agency, they use radios and experimental antennas and take only 8 minutes when sending data to the Earth.
The first image sent by Insight after landing on Martian soil. (EFE)
Due to the difficulties represented by landing on Mars (only 40% of the attempts were successful), for scientists this model of small satellites eventually works as a "black box" to record an accident and then be able to investigate and improve future efforts.
One detail: the project was developed mainly by young scientists and in many cases it was involved first experience in space trips. So, they have extra taste success.
After landing, turning MarCO-B to take a farewell picture of Red Planet. He also tried to take pictures of Mars, Phobos and Deimos pictures.
Mars image that took one of the satellites from more than one thousand kilometers away. (REUTERS)
"WALL-E sent some fantastic mail cards from Mars!" says Cody Colley, from JPL, MarCO's mission manager, who led the work to arrange all CubeSat to take pictures.
With mission objectives achieved, the MarCO team will spend next weeks collecting additional data from each CubeSat.
Meanwhile, on Mars, Insight now takes pictures of the ground so that engineers can decide where to install the spacecraft's scientific equipment. NASA estimated that it will take two or three months before these instruments are fully implemented and sent data.