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HOW THE NASA’s InSight LANDER WAS DESIGNED

The NASA’s InSight is aimed at placing a single stationary lander on Mars to study its deep interior and address a fundamental issue of planetary and solar system science. It is an adventure that could make the study of the earliest evolutionary history of the processes that shaped Mars.

It is believed that, by studying the size, thickness, density and overall structure of Mar’s core, mantle, and crust, as well as the rate at which heat escapes from the planet’s interior. The spacecraft could assist NASA to make a detailed study of all the rocky planets in the inner solar system.

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The rocky inner planets share a common ancestry that begins with a process called accretion. As the body increases in size, its interior heats up and evolves to become a terrestrial planet, containing a core, mantle, and crust. Despite the common ancestry, each of the terrestrial planets is later shaped and molded through a poorly understood process called differentiation.

The Lander goal is to improve the understanding of this process and by extension, terrestrial evolution, by measuring the planetary building blocks shape by this differentiation. Its mission will determine if there is any seismic activity, measure the rate of heat flow from the interior, and estimate the size of Mars’ core and the state of the core.

In terms of fundamental processes shaping planetary formation, it is believed that Mars contains the most in-depth and accurate historical record, because it is big enough to have undergone the earliest accretion and internal heating processes that shaped the terrestrial planets, but is small enough to have retained signs of those processes.

In terms of design, it inherited its design from the 2008 Phoenix Max lander. It is powered by solar panels, therefore it was built in a manner that could enable it land near the equator to enable maximum power for a projected lifetime of two years.

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Two microsatellites named, Mars Cube One (MarCO) that launched with it but were flying in formation with it to Mars, were included. Based on specifications, here are few details of the InSight’s design:

MASS
It has a total mass of 694 (1,530 Ib)
The mass of the lander is 358kg (789 Ib)
The Aeroshell is 189 kg (417 Ib)
The Propellant and pressurant is 67 kg (148 Ib)

DIMENSIONS
About 6.0 m (19.7 ft) wide with solar panels deployed. The science deck is about 1.56 m (5.1 ft) wide and between 0.83 and 1.08 m (2.7 and 3.5 ft) high (depending on leg compression after landing). The length of the robotic arm is 2.4 m (7.9 ft).

POWER
The is generated by two round solar panels, each 2.15 m (7.1 ft) in diameter and consisting of SoIAero ZTJ triple – junction solar cells made of InGaP/Ge arranged on Orbital ATK Ultraflex arrays. After touchdown on the martian surface, the arrays are deployed by opening like a folding fan.

THE MarCO SPECIFICATIONS
The Mars Cube One are a pair of identical 6U CubeSats 13.5kg (30 Ib) each. They feature a reflectarray high gain antenna, and a miniaturized radio operating in UHF for receive only and X-band which is for receive and transmit. They also carry a miniature wide-angle camera, cold gas propulsion, and a star tracker for navigation.

Originally posted 2018-12-07 16:59:28.

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