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More regarding the Mars lander, Insight

Science Education for the Early Grades Forums Open Discussion More regarding the Mars lander, Insight

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      Bernard Nebel

      The following info is for folks interested in NASA’s InSight rover landing on Mars Monday afternoon.  If you’re not interested, delete!

      According to EarthSky, “InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. It’s the first mission designed to study the deep interior of Mars. InSight blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California on May 5, 2018”.
      Live coverage of the landing will begin an hour before the landing, projected for 2 pm on Monday with touchdown around 3 pm.  This means we’ll be able to see almost nothing during the school day, but you may want to pass along the info to your students  and watch yourself.  This is a great opportunity to highlight the many engineering and science career opportunities with NASA and the aerospace industry.  At the least, we can encourage students and parents to watch the news Monday night!  Instructions for watching the livecast are at
      The landing is perilous and may be very hard. “Monday’s Mars landing attempt will be a nail-biter. Consider the speed at which the craft has to hit Mars’ atmosphere, and then, in a very short time, slow down enough to land. When NASA’s InSight spacecraft hits the top of the Martian atmosphere on Monday, it’ll be traveling at 12,300 mph (19,800 kph). During its descent through Mars’ atmosphere, it needs to slow down to 5 mph (8 kph) – about human jogging speed – before its three legs touch down on Martian soil. That extreme deceleration has to happen in just under seven minutes, a timeframe known to NASA engineers as: seven minutes of terror.  In that seven minutes, the InSight lander has to deploy its parachute and landing legs, spot the surface with radar instruments, and fire 12 engines to help it slow down. All of these actions are preprogrammed because, due to the finite speed of light, NASA engineers can’t make changes to the procedure if something goes wrong. They can’t even track the descent in real time.”
      For more info, including the physics of the landing, go to
      Enjoy!  Here’s wishing for a safe landing with lots of info on the interior of Mars to come in the future.
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