CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Mars is about to be his first US visitor in the years: a three-legged geologist, unarmed to dig deep and listen to heat.
InSight NASA makes its extensive access through the outdoor Martian sandy on Monday, after a six month trip, 300 million miles (480 million kilometers). This is the American American ship to land since the shame of shame in 2012 and the first dedicated to exploring beneath the ground.
NASA takes a genuine way to get this mechanical miners to the face of the red planet. Machine fuels will slow down its final fall and the spacecraft will go down on its rigid legs, eliminating excavation of previous successful trips.
That's where the old school ends this US-European effort.
Once aviation managers in California determine that the coast is clear on the landing site – fairly flat and free – an arm of 6 feet (1.8 meters) will remove both main experiments from the cover dec set directly on the Martian surface.
No spacecraft has tried something similar to that of that and so on.
The first ones do not stop there.
One experiment will try to penetrate 16 feet (5 meters) into Manchester, using self-hammer nails with heat sensors to measure the internal temperature of the planet. That would cut the depth record outside this world of 8 feet (2 ½ meters) drilled by the Apollo slopes of nearly 30 years ago for gray heat measurements .
The astronauts left behind instruments to measure moon moon. InSight carries the first seismometers to monitor marsquakes – if they exist. Yet another experiment will calculate Mars, providing clues for the core of the planet.
It will not look for signs of life, past or present. There are no life sensors on the board.
The spacecraft as a self-contained robot, said lead scientist Bruce Banerdt of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"It's its own brain, it has a arm that can handle things around. It can listen to a seismometer, it can feel things with the pressure sensors and the temperature sensors. 39; n pulls her own power out of the sun, "he said.
By covering Mars spaces, scientists could learn how our neighbor – and other rocky worlds, including the Earth and the moon – have been formed and transformed over millions of years. Mars is much less geological than Earth, and so its interior is closer to its original condition – a wonderful time capsule.
InSight stands for "revolutionizing the way we think of inside the planet," said NASA science headmaster Thomas Zurbuchen.
But first, the 800-pound (360-kilogram) vehicle needs to go safely to the Martian surface. This time, there will not be a ball bounce down with the spacecraft hidden inside, as it was for the Spirit and Opportunities in 2004. And there will be no air crane to lower the lander as it was on for the six wheels During his dramatic "seven minutes of terrorism".
"That was crazy," InSight project manager Tom Hoffman acknowledged. But he noted, "Any time you're trying to land on Mars, it's crazy, really. I do not think there's a healthy way to do that."
No matter how good it is, to reach Mars and land it hard – and unfortunately.
The Earth's success rate in Mars is only 40 percent. That includes leaflet that dates back to the 1960s, as well as orbiters and cleaners.
Although it has been a share of flips, the US has the best history of a long way. No-one else has managed to land and operate a spacecraft on the Field. Two years ago, a European countryman came in so fast, and his system fell down, he had carved crater on effect.
This time NASA lends a page of the 1976 twin Viking and Phoenix 2008, which was also china and three legs.
"But you never know what Mars will do," said Hoffman. "Just because we've done this forward means we're not nervous and exciting about doing it again."
Wind slippers could send the ship into dangerous holes during collapse, or the parachute could get tangled. A dust storm like the one that outlined Mars in the last summer could hamper the InSight capacity to generate solar power. It could buckle leg. The arm could be ready.
The tense time for flight managers in Pasadena, California: the six minutes of the time the spacecraft arrives at the atmosphere and touches Mars. They will have jams of nuts at hand – a good tradition of talent dating back to the successful full-fledged mission of Ranger 1964.
InSight will enter the atmosphere of Mars in 12,300 mp supersonic (19,800 kph), depending on its white nylon parachute and a series of engine fires to slow down enough for upright soft landing on Mars Elysium Planitia, a remarkable equestrian plain .
Hoffman hopes to be "Walmart parking in Kansas".
The flatter is better, so the tier does not finish, ending the mission, and so the robotic arm can set down the science instruments.
InSight – a short for Internal Audit using Seismic, Geodesi and Transport Investigations – will lie close to the ground, its top ten rarely in a yard, or a meter, above the surface. Once the circular sun panels open, the landowner will occupy a large car space.
If NASA gets lucky, a pair of rough-size satellites are entering InSight as their joint lift in May could provide live-live updates during the first time. There is a weak eight-minute communication between Earth and Mars.
The experimental CubeSats, known as WALL-E and EVE of the 2008 animated film, will swell past Mars and continue to be an orbit around the sun, and their technology display has to complete.
If WALL-E and EVE are angry, landing news will come from NASA's motors in Mars, not just as fast.
The first pictures of the landing site should begin to flow soon after a touchdown. It will be at least 10 weeks before the science instruments are used. Add a number of other weeks to the heat-maker manufacturer into Fau.
The mission is intended to last a full Martian one year, which is equivalent to two years of Earth.
With a landing day so close to Thanksgiving, many flight managers will eat turkey in their desks on the holidays.
Hoffman expects his team to stay until Monday to give a full and proper thanks.
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