Monday , March 1 2021

8 minutes and good news for the UBC planetary scientist on the Mars landing

For eight minutes on a Monday afternoon, a crowd at a museum gallery at the University of British Columbia followed a silent silence for a NASA spaceship broadcasting on Mars.

The stakes were especially one of the audience: Catherine Johnson, the only Canadian UBC planet scientist on duty.

He said, "The nail biting and happily good news." On the coast, Just a few hours after the three-legged InSight touched the red planet of the earth.

The spacecraft, designed to gouge under the surface of Mars, made a six-minute descent from the atmosphere with rose petals after a journey of 482 million kilometers that lasted six months.

In NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, flight controllers jumped out of their seats and when there were reports that the three-legged InSight soil had come into contact with the red planet, the screams, applause and laughter erupted.

. Perfect i announced Japp's lead engineer, Rob Manning. ”This is what we really hope and imagine in our minds,“ he said. "Sometimes things work in your favor."

Travel to the NASA lab

In Vancouver, the landing closed the five-year preparation period for Johnson and his team. But their work just started.

Johnson's team is working on marches, including where it happened. She also looks at the water content of the rocks to shed light on the water history on the planet.

Johnson travels to NASA's jet-driven laboratory in Pasadena, California on Wednesday.

Catherine Johnson and her team spent five years preparing for her Mars mission. (Catherine Johnson / UBC)

Johnson said the plan was to open a magnetometer on Thursday to measure the planet's magnetic field. It will use this data to better understand the characteristics of the planet's atmosphere.

“I was excited about taking good care of the interior,“ he said. "Find out where and when earthquakes occurred, how big they were, how many and where they were."

He added: "This planet is a great, big mission for the science community."

Listen to the following interview with Johnson:

Catherine Johnson is the only Canadian UBC planet scientist who recently took part in the NASA Mars mission. 07:19

& # 39; What relief & # 39;

In North America, the Times Square in New York City, as well as live shows in museums, planetariums and libraries.

Since May, a pair of mini-satellites following InSight have enabled real-time updates of the supersonic landing of the spacecraft towards the reddish sky. Satellite also took a quick photo from the surface of Mars.

The image was marred by debris stains on the camera cover. But this quick view of the landscape pointed to a small number of flat, sandy surfaces with any rocks – as scientists had expected. Much better pictures will come in the coming hours and days.

The first photo InSight lander was sent back to Earth after touching Mars on Monday: a view of a flat, smooth area called Elysium Planitia on the Red Planet. (EP-A-Efe / NASA)

"What a relief," Manning said. "This is really awesome." He added: "It never grows old."

The InSight spacecraft reached the surface after falling from zero to 19,800 km / h in six minutes using a parachute and braking motors to slow down. The radio signals confirming the descent lasted more than eight minutes to exceed the approximately 160 million kilometers between Mars and the Earth.

It was the ninth attempt by NASA to land on Mars since the 1976 Viking probes. All but one of the previous US touchdowns was successful.

In 2012, NASA came to Mars with its curious explorer.

An artist's concept shows InSight Lander's sensors, cameras and instruments. After a six-month journey, the spacecraft successfully touched Mars on Monday. (NASA / JPL-California Institute of Technology)

Bruce Banerdt, a leading scientist in InSight, said, "Landing on Mars is one of the most challenging jobs people need to do in planetary discovery." Said. Şey This is a very difficult thing. It's a very dangerous thing to always have a very uncomfortable chance for something to go wrong. Şey

40 percent success rate for Mars missions

Mars has been a cemetery for many space missions. So far, the success rate on the red planet has been only 40 percent since 1960 when every flight, trajectory, and landing by the US, Russia and other countries has been trying to cross.

According to the impression of an artist, InSight enters the Martian atmosphere, about 128 kilometers above the surface and only a few minutes from the descent. (NASA / JPL)

However, the United States, inSight & # 39; n not counted in the last forty years, seven successful Mars landing with only a single failed failure.

No other country was able to establish and operate a spacecraft on a dusty red surface.

As InSight hoped the Insiight team would be as flat as a parking space in Kansas, the Martian was shooting for Elysium Planitia near the equator.

This is not a rock gathering trip. Instead, the fixed 360 kilogram of land will use the 1.8-meter robot arm to place a mechanical molar and seismometer on the ground.

The self-hounded mole will go down five meters to measure the inner temperature of the planet, and the seismometer will listen for possible earthquakes.

However, since NASA's scientists will have to first assess the health of the spacecraft and the land it is landing on, it will take several months to keep these vehicles in place.

No ability to detect life

Something like this had never been tried on Mars, which was a planet about 160 million kilometers away from the Earth.

People are reacting while watching New York's InSight land from Times Square on Mars. (Brendan McDermid / Reuters)

No landing went deeper than a few inches, and no seismometry on Mars worked.

Scientists examining the interior of Mars, how the rocky planets of our solar system were formed over 4.5 billion years ago and why they are so different – Mars, cold and dry, Venus and Mercury, fame and warm, burning the Earth they hope they understand life.

"We are trying to get back to the earliest stages of the planet in a timely manner," Banerdt said. "The fingerprints of these early processes are not only in the World."

However, Inight & # 39; s life does not have the capacity to detect. This will be left for future rovers. For example, NASA's Mars 2020 mission will eventually be brought back to the World and will collect stones to be analyzed for evidence of the old life.

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