For some time now, NASA has been planning to send out a new probe to Mars. It would appear now that we’re in a position where takeoff is just around the corner. This awesome release is one of the best pieces of news that NASA has provided us with a little while: a genuinely awesome planetary exploration probe.
The probe has finally arrived at the launch site, and is planned to take off into the skies above the planet at some stage during May. While we’re still some way away from the release, we’re sure to get to enjoy a rather exciting and entertaining journey with the probe as it takes off. Known as the InSight Lander, this touched down at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in late February. It is now ready to go, after being dropped off by a C-17 Cargo aircraft.
Having traveled from its base in Denver, the project is now one step closer to completion and moving that next step further to a new flight experience. This is going to be a very enjoyable thing to watch; the perfect example of new and improved space probe technology across the board.
NASA officials said that "The Air Force C-17 crew from the 21st Airlift Squadron gave us a great ride," and that the project as moving alone swimmingly. Speaking from their Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, project manager Tom Hoffman said that: "Next time InSight travels as high and as fast, it will be about 23 seconds into its launch, on the way to Mars."
Isn’t that exciting? Ever since the landing on the Moon back in the day, there’s been a renewed desire to keep space interaction going further. This probe is just another part of the long-term plan to help humanity eventually fully understand the planets beyond our own.
InSight Lander Launch: What’s to Come
So, the launch is set to take place on May 5th, with the entire set-up going to take around five weeks for the project to complete. It will fly off using the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. This lifts off from Vandenberg, and is to become the first ever mission from the West Coast of the United States.
Everything else has usually launched from Florida, so this is a majorly positive experience for both NASA and the US West Coast.
Various tests will take place starting from today, with the aim to get it flight-perfect for the launch to take place on May 5th.
"One of the most important activities before launch is to load the spacecraft with the fuel needed for the journey to Mars," Hoffman explained.
"After fuel loading, the spacecraft will undergo a spin-balance test to determine precisely the center of mass. This knowledge is needed to be sure the entry and descent into the Mars atmosphere go as planned."
When the probe finally kicks off into space, we’ll be sure to bring you more details of this exciting part of space exploration history!
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