NASA's New Mars Lander InSight Just Passed a Crucial Test
It's a big day for NASA: New Mars lander InSight just passed its crucial first test in its ability to search for alien life on the Red Planet.
November 2018 may seem like a very long time from now, but for the scientists at NASA there is much to be done by then in preparation for the launch of the next Mars lander spacecraft, InSight. According to reports, one major test was passed this week when, at Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, NASA successfully extended the craft's solar arrays, which will power it once it reaches the fourth rock from the Sun.
The solar panels on InSight are designed to make the most out of the very dim sunlight on Mars. NASA says that they will power the craft for two years (or one Martian year). "This is the last time we will see the spacecraft in landed configuration before it arrives at the Red Planet," said Lockheed Martin InSight Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) Manager, Scott Daniels. "There are still many steps we have to take before launch, but this is a critical milestone before shipping to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."
Once on Mars, InSight will collect data on the planet's seismic activity, as well as its interior temperatures and other qualities.