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November 26 – December 2, 2018 / Vol 37, No 48 / Hawai`i Island, USA

21 Nov 2018, 20:48 UTC
November 26 – December 2, 2018 / Vol 37, No 48 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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InSight and 1st Interplanetary CubeSats to Arrive at Mars Nov 26 for 2+ Year Mission

Next-gen Mars JPL / NASA mission InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) 694-kg lander is scheduled to touchdown north of the equator at Elysium Planitia on November 26 at 11:54 PST. The craft, encapsulated in an “aeroshell”, is planned to be released about 7 minutes before it reaches the atmosphere, and descend 113 km until a parachute and descent engines slow the craft to ~2.4 meters per second. InSight total cost is about US$830M. Its primary instruments include SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) developed by CNES to study deep interior and measure ground motions, the HP3 heat probe developed by DLR which can self-penetrate to 5 meters, and RISE radio science experiment to take precise measurements of planetary rotation. The projected lifetime is 2 years, powered by 2 round solar panels, each with a 2.15-meter diameter. The first interplanetary CubeSats, two 6U 13.5-kg Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats are flying separately with the objectives to test navigation and endurance in deep space, and provide “near real-time” communication during Insight entry, descent and landing phase – at about an 8-minute delay. ...

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