Spacecraft InSight touche down on the surface of Mars in November. CFP
Mars has often been regarded as a possible place for human beings to live in the future. But although the dream of setting foot on Mars for us may still be years away, “the Red Planet”, as the Yahoo website put it, “is turning into something of a monument park for our species all the same”.
InSight, the latest robotic visitor from Earth touched down on the surface of Mars in November, marking the beginning of its two-year study of the Mars’ interior.
NASA believes that this journey is quite a challenge.
According to Business Insider, as the spacecraft traveled through the Martian atmosphere it would have experienced great pressure.
If InSight had reached the atmosphere at an unsafe angle at the speed of 19,795 km/h, the pressure would have pushed the spacecraft away from the planet’s atmosphere and out into deep space. If there had been an error, InSight would have been destroyed completely.
In order to solve the problem, NASA put InSight into an entry capsule, which helped it speed toward the atmosphere and enter it at the perfect angle.
The extreme high temperature of the Mars’ interior will make fulfillment of the project a challenge, as Jim Green, NASA chief scientist explained.
“It’s like a cake,” he told Live Science. “You bake a cake, and when you take it from the oven, it’s still hot inside while it’s cooling off.”
Green believes that the planets are still cooling off from when they came into being 4.5 billion years ago. So, he said, the interior of Mars is hot, and that heat is still released from the mantle and the crust”.
For this reason, InSight was coated with a heat shield and given a heat probe to measure the temperature.
Though the trip was actually dangerous and risky, the InSight mission is of great significance. If all goes well, the photos InSight is taking will provide us with a different angle on how this rocky planet has evolved through time.
As InSight chief scientist Bruce Banerdt told the BBC: “The small details in how planets evolve are what … make the difference between a place like Earth where you can go on vacation and get a tan, and a place like Venus where you’ll burn in seconds or a place like Mars where you’ll freeze to death.”