Here's How NASA's Mars InSight Will Phone Home After Its Dramatic Landing

Space.com | 11/17/2018 | Staff
amyc9948 (Posted by) Level 3
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Like any dutiful creation, NASA's Mars InSight lander has promised to phone home upon safely reaching its destination on Nov. 26.

But it won't be a detailed conversation, and NASA engineers can't actually be sure when the call will come — or even whether it will come from the InSight lander itself. All told, the team has developed five separate communication routes that will help Earthlings track their creation's progress on the Red Planet.

Artist - Depiction - InSight - Signal - MarCO

An artist's depiction of InSight's signal, in green, being converted by the MarCO into their own signals, in blue.

Once it has landed, InSight will produce two more beacon signals, 7 minutes apart and in different wavelengths. If engineers can catch the second of those two signals, which is particularly strong, they will be particularly pleased, since it means InSight is probably in good condition. Nevertheless, it will still be hours before they hear whether the lander unfurled its solar arrays uneventfully.

Travel - Engineers - Means - InSight - Spacecraft

But because they're dealing with interplanetary travel, engineers have built in three possible alternative means of hearing from InSight, relying on other spacecraft at Mars. InSight's own tiny companions, the two cubesats that make up the Mars Cube One, or MarCO project, will be arriving at the Red Planet...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Space.com
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