Ghanaian engineer built NASA's new spacecraft to land in Mars

Twin MarCO Cube Sats piggybacked on the In Sight mission accomplish their entire primary objective

Image captured by MarCO-B Cube Sat from about 6,000 kilometres away during its flyby of the Red Planet. Image by NASA JPL-Caltech

America celebrates loudly! NASA successfully landed on Mars camera "insight", which was launched 6 months ago in California.

InSight is equipped with two full-color cameras, a self-hammering mole and an ultra-high-tech seismometer. It will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until November 24, 2020.

InSight has already been busy. These initial images are grainy because the dust shields haven't been removed from the camera lenses yet.

The InSight lander opened up its solar panels, which gave it an opportunity to recharge its batteries for the mission. With the fins folded out, InSight is about the size of a big 1960s convertible, NASA said. "With the arrays providing the energy, we need to start the cool science operations".

It was the first time in history a spacecraft's journey was documented this way.

These panels will be producing at least 200-300 watts even during the dusty conditions on the planet. It will take a couple of months before those instruments are fully deployed and sending back data.

Google Hangouts is reportedly shutting down in 2020
According to a source familiar with the matter who spoke with 9to5Google, the closure will happen "sometime in 2020". Considering Google essentially stopped updating the app over a year ago, this doesn't come as much of a surprise.

The suite of geophysical instruments will take measurements of Mars' internal activity like seismology and the wobble as the sun and its moons tug on the planet. We take a look at the "seven minutes of terror" (the time between first hitting the planet's atmosphere to the moment it safely lands) and how NASA did it without any real-time input from Earth. Odyssey has also relayed a pair of images showing InSight's landing site.

─NASA Group Achievement Award-Mars Exploration Rover Avionics Team (2004); and the NASA Group Achievement Award-Mars Exploration Rover Flight System, Management and Engineering Team (2004) to name a few.

The two CubeSats that are now orbiting around Mars are nicknamed Wall-E and Eva, because they both use a compressed gas commonly found in fire extinguishers to push themselves through, just like the character from a 2008 Pixar animation. It's along the Martian equator, bright and warm enough to power the lander's solar array year-round. It will expand the understanding of rocky planets in general. "Looking forward to exploring my new home", NASA tweeted with the picture just hours after landing. They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space.

Nicknamed "EVE" and "WALL-E" after the stars of the 2008 Pixar film, MarCO-A and MarCO-B used experimental radios and antennas, providing an alternate way for engineers to monitor the landing. And their mission is over. Of interest will be how much fuel is left in each CubeSat and detailed analyses of how their relay capability performed. "They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as "tag-alongs" on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing".

"Insight" has landed on the plain South of the Elysium volcanic plateau. The mission will not look for signs of life on Mars. "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface". Interference from the Martian atmosphere changes the signal when received on Earth, allowing scientists to determine how much atmosphere is present and, to some degree, what it's made of.

His desire to construct a spacecraft developed when he was growing up in Ghana. "But they're low-priced ride-alongs that can allow us to explore in new ways". "It's given them valuable experience on every facet of building, testing and operating a spacecraft in deep space". "We are proud of their accomplishment".

Latest News