First Radio Signals From First Ever Interplanetary CubeSats Bound for Mars Received

First Radio Signals From First Ever Interplanetary CubeSats Bound for Mars Received


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Sign up By , Christian Post Contributor | May 9, 2018 9:22 AM NASA/JPL-CaltechAn artist‘s rendering of the twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft as they fly through deep space.

For the first time since their launch to the planet Mars last May 5, the Mars Cube One satellites have ed Earth.

Radio signals from the briefcase-sized CubeSats officially referred to as MarCO-A and MarCO-B were received on Saturday afternoon.

“Both MarCO-A and B say ‘Polo!‘ It‘s a sign that the little sats are alive and well,” MarCO mission chief engineer Andy Klesh said in an .

The first ones to be launched to another planet, the CubeSats are expected to fly by Mars on Nov. 26.

While their main purpose is to prove that CubeSats are capable of exploring interplanetary space, the tiny satellites are also hoped to beam data to Earth from InSight during its “seven minutes of terror” that involves its entry, descent, and landing sequence in the planet.

“We‘re nervous but excited,” MarCO project manager Joel Krajewski said of the project. “A lot of work went into designing and testing these components so that they could survive the trip to Mars and relay data during InSight‘s landing. But our broader goal is to learn more about how to adapt cubesat technologies for future deep-space missions,” he went on to say.

The main goal of the MarCO-A and B is the fly by. When that is achieved, the mission will come to an end. The star of the Saturday launch was the InSight Mars, which will explore the interior structure of Mars by peering deep below the planet‘s surface to learn how it works.

The lander is expected to park at Elysium Planitia, a region of the planet picked for the mission for being geologically unremarkable. The prolonged sunshine afforded by its positioning on the equator will also provide solar power for the InSight.

The spacecraft comes with a supersensitive seismometer and a heat probe, which will be used to makes its way up to 16 feet beneath the planet‘s surface.

Renee Weber of NASA‘s Marshall Space Flight Center explains to National Geographic that the  that “even the motion of its parts against the atmosphere creates noise that we want to eliminate.”

For two Earth years (or roughly one Martian year), InSight will keep track of the planet‘s beats and spasms. This will allow experts to find out more about the alien world‘s version of earthquakes and how tectonically active it is.

This means that the InSight will monitor the frequency and level of any tremors that happen on the planet and where they come from. This is by sensing vibrations produced by meteorite impacts, quakes resulting to the planet‘s cooldown, and distant magma.

“About a thousand miles away, there‘s been volcanism within the last one to 10 million years. In geological terms, that‘s yesterday,” Suzanne Smrekar of NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who serves as a deputy principal investigator for the InSight mission, explained to the abovementioned outlet.

The Marsquakes, as they are being referred to at the moment, will be measured in magnitude in the same way earthquakes are, but the way a certain level feels on Mars will likely be different on Earth.

“We think that the seismicity of Mars will probably lie somewhere between Earth and the moon,” Weber said.

InSight is expected to land on Mars on Nov. 26.


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