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NASA's Next Mars Lander Spreads its Solar Wings

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NASA's Next Mars Lander Spreads its Solar Wings

Post by Dragon on Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:58 pm

NASA's next mission to Mars passed a key test Tuesday, extending the solar arrays that will power the InSight spacecraft once it lands on the Red Planet this November.

The test took place at Lockheed Martin Space just outside of Denver, where InSight was built and has been undergoing testing ahead of its launch. The mission is led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"This is the last time we will see the spacecraft in landed configuration before it arrives at the Red Planet," said Scott Daniels, Lockheed Martin InSight Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) Manager. "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." The InSight launch window opens in May.

The fan-like solar panels are specially designed for Mars' weak sunlight, caused by the planet's distance from the Sun and its dusty, thin atmosphere. The panels will power InSight for at least one Martian year (two Earth years) for the first mission dedicated to studying Mars' deep interior. InSight's full name is Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

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Re: NASA's Next Mars Lander Spreads its Solar Wings

Post by Dragon on Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:00 pm


Credits: Lockheed Martin Space

The solar arrays on NASA's InSight Mars lander were deployed as part of testing conducted Jan. 23, 2018, at Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado. Engineers and technicians evaluated the solar arrays and performed an illumination test to confirm that the solar cells were collecting power. The launch window for InSight opens May 5, 2018.

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Re: NASA's Next Mars Lander Spreads its Solar Wings

Post by Dragon on Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:01 pm



While in its landed configuration for the last time before arriving on Mars, NASA's InSight lander was commanded to deploy its solar arrays to test and verify the exact process that it will use on the surface of the Red Planet. During the test on Jan. 23, 2018, in a Lockheed Martin clean room in Littleton, Colorado, engineers and technicians evaluated that the solar arrays fully deployed and conducted an illumination test to confirm that the solar cells were collecting power.

 
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