Nasa’s incredible Mars landing
Nasa’s latest mission to the Red Planet is a feat of science and engineering
THE tension was almost too much to bear. While the flight controller performed the countdown, scientists and engineers sat on the edge of their seats at the Nasa control centre in Pasadena, California, holding their breath.
“Altitude 400m . . . 300m . . . 200m . . . 80m . . .”
As the InSight robotic explorer made its descent to the surface of Mars there was so much at stake. For several terrifying moments hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of hard work hung in the balance.
The mission could either herald the start of a groundbreaking new era of space exploration or it could end in tears with wreckage on the Red Planet.
And then at last: “Touchdown confirmed”.
With that, cheers and cries of jubilation erupted in the room. And now with the successful landing, Nasa and its international partners are ready for an exciting new chapter.
Nasa staff couldn’t help but cheer when many years of hard work paid off as InSight successfully landed. SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) The SEIS seismometer, which is protected by a wind and sun shield, measures the vibrations caused by the internal activity of Mars to illuminate the properties of the crust, mantle and core. It will measure the planet’s “pulse” by studying waves created by quakes, thumps of meteorite impacts, and even surface vibrations generated by activity in Mars’ atmosphere and by weather phenomena such as dust storms.