The Center for Astrobiology returns to Mars

The TWINS instrument arrived at 20:53 (Peninsular Time) last night at the surface of Mars aboard the NASA InSight mission after almost seven months of travel. TWINS is a set of temperature and wind sensors that has been developed by the Astrobiology Center (CAB, CSIC-INTA), CRISA and UPC.

More than 200 people gathered yesterday at the Astrobiology Center to follow the landing of InSight on Mars. Shortly after seven thirty in the afternoon, the ceremony began at the CAB Auditorium where several researchers explained to the attendees the details of the mission and the TWINS instrument, as well as the EDL phase (Entry, Descent and Landing , Entrance, descent and landing).

At around 8:40 pm the CAB connected with the live signal from NASA, where the patient was waiting patiently. first sign confirming that InSight had landed on Mars. When there were barely 7 minutes to nine o'clock, at 20:53 (Peninsular time), one minute earlier than expected and after the 'seven minutes of terror' in which there was silence, NASA received the first confirmation of that InSight had touched Martian soil. The emotion also invaded the auditorium of the Center for Astrobiology, which broke into applause.

The InSight mission (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, Exploration delinquent through seismic investigations, geodesy and heat transport) is the first mission to study the interior of Mars and will help scientists understand the formation and evolution of rocky planets, including Earth. & nbsp;
< p style = "text-align: justify;"> The scientific instrumentation of InSight is composed of three main instruments: SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, seismic experiment for the interior structure), developed by the French Space Agency (CNES); HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, set of sensors for the study of heat flow and physical properties), of the German Space Agency (DLR); and, finally, the RISE instrument (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment, Experiment for the study of rotation and interior structure), of the American JPL.

, InSight carries on board the TWINS instrument (Temperature and Wind Sensors for InSight mission, temperature and wind sensors for the InSight mission). TWINS has been developed by the Center for Astrobiology and CRISA and will be responsible for monitoring the environmental conditions of the landing area during the entire duration of the mission (which is expected to be 1 Martian year, that is, about two Earth years). During the first 40-60 soles, TWINS will characterize the thermal environment and the wind patterns of the area to contribute to the scientific team in charge of SEIS and HP3 to establish the best conditions for their deployment. As of that moment, TWINS will play an important role in the monitoring of the winds, since it will help to discard false positives in the seismic events that the SEIS seismograph can detect.

The environmental data collected by TWINS will be compared and correlated with the data recorded by REMS, the other CAB environmental station that is currently operating on Mars aboard NASA's Curiosity rover.

In addition, the CAB is working on the development of a new station based on REMS technology; it is MEDA, an instrument that will fly to Mars aboard the Mars 2020 mission.



Figure : Photograph taken by the Instrument Implementation Chamber (IDC), located on the robotic arm of InSight. This image was transmitted from InSight to Earth through NASA's Odyssey spacecraft. © NASA / JPL-Caltech

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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