NASA's InSight lander on track for Mars touchdown on Nov 26

NASA's InSight lander on track for Mars touchdown on Nov 26

Kenneth Drake
November 24, 2018

The 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater will give the Mars 2020 mission an opportunity to study a lot of loose rock material, but water was also on NASA's mind when it picked the landing site. The communication lag between Mars and Earth is eight minutes.

According to NASA, the InSight lander will arrive on the Red Planet on Monday, November 26th.

If these pipsqueaks manage to relay InSight's radio signals to ground controllers almost 100 million miles (160 million kilometres) away, we'll know within minutes whether the spacecraft landed safely. The technology used to land InSight is based on the Phoenix spacecraft, which touched down on the Red Planet in 2008.

NASA has been flying past, orbiting, landing and roving over Mars since 1965.

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It will touch down on a flat, smooth plain close to the planet's equator called the Elysium Planitia - a place where oddball alien hunters claim to have spotted a "crashed UFO" and an "extraterrestrial city".

Farley said Jezero and other sites had been considered too risky for previous Mars missions.

"The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology", NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement.

NASA reveals that it has chosen a site known as the Jezero Crater to be the landing area for Mars 2020. Unlike the space agency's rovers, InSight is a lander created to study an entire planet from just one spot. Utilizing information from NASA's armada of Mars orbiters, they will outline landscape in more noteworthy detail and distinguish districts of intrigue - places with the most fascinating geographical highlights, for instance - where Mars 2020 could gather the best science tests. This was announced Wednesday at a press conference, broadcast on the NASA website, a representative of the jet propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (California) Rob Grover. InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander created to study the "inner space" of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.