Virginia Tech professor to analyze data from NASA's Mars landing

01 December, 2018, 09:27 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • US-SPACE-NASA-MARS

Instead, it is expected to provide our best look yet at Mars' deep interior, which in turn will reveal clues about how terrestrial planets formed.

Throughout his career, Trebi-Ollennu has won many accolades such as the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal (2008); Sir Monty Finniston Achievement Medal (2007) for outstanding technical contribution to any field of Engineering from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET); Outstanding Engineer Award (2007); JPL Mariner Award from MER for outstanding leadership in the analysis and resolution of the IDD unstow anomaly on Opportunity rover (2006); 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 touchdown was near Mars' equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia, with a signal affirming a completed landing sequence at about 1.23 a.m. IST.

"We wanted it to be quick and we had no idea that camera woman would be right there or that would be the shot that was chosen", said Brooke Harper, a NASA JPL EDL Systerms Engineer attached to the InSight project. It will take a couple of months before those instruments are fully deployed and sending back data.

The information InSight will gather about Mars applies to more than just the Red Planet.

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For more on the InSight mission, check out Episode 8 of Watch This Space, which takes a look at the science behind the mission and what NASA hopes to discover by drilling into the red planet.

"CubeSats have incredible potential to carry cameras and science instruments out to deep space", said John Baker, JPL's program manager for small spacecraft. And their mission is over.

With the mission's objectives reached, the MarCO team will spend the next couple of weeks collecting additional data on each CubeSat. "They were so fast that we had to watch it in slow motion", said Bonfiglio. "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".

Their hard work is done now that the InSight has landed. But during the flyby, MarCO-A transmitted signals through the edge of the Martian atmosphere. "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface". That atmosphere causes interference to change the signal when it's received on Earth, a way for scientists to detect how much atmosphere is present and even its composition. "They'll never replace the more capable spacecraft NASA is best known for developing. 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".

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