NASA Mars Orbiter Preparing for Mars Lander’s 2016 Arrival

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Artist judgment of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Artist judgment of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL

Fast Facts:

Since 2006, MRO has upheld missions to a aspect of Mars, in further to conducting a possess scholarship observations

› In 2016, MRO will be listening for transmissions from NASA’s subsequent Mars lander, InSight, as it descends and touches down

› An MRO scheme designed for this week is designed to put it during a right place over Mars for InSight’s landingRE


With a biggest circuit scheme given 2006, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) will ready this week for a attainment of NASA’s subsequent Mars lander, InSight, subsequent year.

A designed 77-second banishment of 6 intermediate-size thrusters on Jul 29 will adjust a circuit timing of a maestro booster so it will be in position to accept radio transmissions from InSight as a visitor descends by a Martian atmosphere and touches down on Sept. 28, 2016. These 6 rocket engines, that were used for arena corrections during a spacecraft’s moody from Earth to Mars, can any furnish about 22 newtons, or 5 pounds, of thrust.

“Without creation this circuit change maneuver, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter would be incompetent to hear from InSight during a landing, though this will put us in a right place during a right time,” pronounced MRO Project Manager Dan Johnston of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

The orbiter will record InSight’s transmissions for after playback to Earth as a record of any eventuality during a vicious mins of InSight’s attainment during Mars, only as MRO did for a landings of NASA’s Curiosity Mars corsair 3 years ago, and NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander in 2008.

InSight will inspect a low interior of Mars for clues about a arrangement and early expansion of all hilly planets, including Earth.

MRO will continue a studies of Mars while scheming for a InSight arrival. MRO collects high-resolution imaging and bright data, as good as windy and sub-surface profiles. It has returned several times some-more information about a Red Planet than all other deep-space missions combined. It will also continue providing communication send support for Mars rovers and creation observations for research of claimant alighting sites for destiny missions.

After a InSight landing, skeleton call for MRO to perform a span of even incomparable maneuvers in Oct 2016 and Apr 2017 — any regulating a 6 intermediate-size thrusters longer than 3 minutes. These will lapse it to a circuit timing it has used given 2006, channel a equator during about 3 a.m. and 3 p.m., internal solar time, during any near-polar loop around a planet. To observe a InSight arrival, MRO will be in an circuit that crosses a equator during about 2:30 p.m. internal solar meant time.

The final time a goal achieved a scheme incomparable than this week’s was on Nov 15, 2006. That scheme dismissed a intermediate-size thrusters for 76 seconds to settle a strange 3 p.m. Local Mean Solar Time (LMST) sun-synchronous condition after a six-month duration of regulating dips into a top atmosphere to change a orbit’s shape. The booster has 3 sets of thrusters. It used a many absolute set — 6 thrusters, any with 170 newtons, or 39 pounds of force — for about 27 mins to initial enter circuit when it arrived during Mars on Mar 10, 2006. It uses 8 smaller thrusters many frequently, for tiny adjustments to march or orientation.

Even after a designed 2017 maneuver, a spacecraft’s remaining supply of hydrazine diesel is projected to be some-more than 413 pounds (about 187 kilograms), homogeneous to about 19 years of expenditure in normal operations.

Source: NASA