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Landed on 26/11/2018 at 21:52:59
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InSight

Taking Mars' pulse at ETH Zurich?

NASA's unmanned InSight mission will make this possible by landing geophysical instruments on the surface of the Red Planet, allowing us to explore its interior. The instruments on board will include a seismometer to record marsquakes and meteorite impacts. Several groups at ETH Zurich are responsible for the sensor's data acquisition and control electronics and will evaluate and interpret the acquired data.

News

Successful positioning of seismometer

Successful positioning of seismometer

Since the SEIS package with the sensors was placed on the ground about one meter away from the spacecraft, recent progress has focussed on levelling SEIS. Further work focused on removing ambient noise disturbing SEIS. One source of such noise is probably the tether - the cable between the lander and SEIS.

The tether has been let down to the ground to remove tension in the cable. The past few days have been spent releasing a shunt on the tether near SEIS, creating a mechanical separation between the tether and the seismometer in order to further stop noise reaching the sensor. Additionally, the seismometer has now crouched down in order to hear faint signals better. Now that SEIS is levelled, the main sensor, the VBB, has since begun sending back data. First impressions look good, but there is still a lot of analysis to be conducted.

2018-12-20

Seismometer in position

Seismometer in position

InSight placed today its seismometer on the surface of Mars. We cannot wait to register and analyze first marsquakes!

2018-12-13

News from the Red Planet

News from the Red Planet

InSight landed successfully on Mars on 26 November 2018 and had some time to settle, i.e. extending its robotic arm. An Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on its elbow, is going to take photos of the terrain in front of the lander. These images will help mission team members determine where to set InSight's seismometer and heat flow probe — the only instruments ever to be robotically placed on the surface of another planet. A full mosaic of what InSight surroundings look like is expected by early next week.

Another camera, called the Instrument Context Camera, is located under the lander's deck. It will also offer views of the workspace, though the view won't be as pretty as dust accumulated on its lens.
Placement of the instruments is critical, and the team is therefore proceeding with caution. It could take up to two to three months before the instruments have been situated and calibrated.
Two of InSight’s sensors, an air pressure sensor inside the lander and the seismometer sitting on the lander's deck, captured the sound of wind on 1 December 2018, from northwest to southeast.
This is the only phase of the mission during which the seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), will be capable of detecting vibrations generated directly by the lander. Soon, it will be placed on the Martian surface by InSight's robotic arm in order to detect the lander's movement, allowing it to detect marsquakes. SEIS will detect vibrations caused by them, that can tell us more about the Red Planet’s interior.
Listen how wind sounds on Mars for yourself here.

2018-11-26

InSight landed on Mars!

InSight landed on Mars!

On 26 November 2018 the time had come: InSight successfully landed on the Elysium plain. This was not an easy task. It was only possible thanks to technologies that had been tried and tested in earlier missions and played together perfectly. The InSight mission had to overcome additional difficulties: Compared to other Mars missions, it entered the atmosphere with a slower velocity, was heavier, landed at a higher point and at a meteorologically less favourable time due to a high risk of sandstorms. Beginning from the entry into the atmosphere, the entire landing took six minutes. By this time, the mission had already covered a distance of approximately 483 million kilometres and spent 205 days in space.

The successful landing is an important milestone in fulfilling the scientific objectives of the mission. At ETH Zurich, we are particularly interested in the origin and development of Mars and its inner structure. We can therefore hardly wait until the seismometer is set down on the surface of Mars and the first measurement data arrives, which researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH and the Institute of Geophysics will then immediately evaluate. InSight is thus also the start of a new era: For the first time, scientific data on the before-mentioned topics will be collected and the first results will be awaited with anticipation. First marsquake measurements are expected for early January if everything goes according to plan.

Have you missed it? Watch the landing here.

Exhibition

2018-03-23 to 2019-06-16

Expedition Solar System

focusTerra looks forward to welcoming you to its special exhibition "Expedition Solar System" at ETH Zurich! Besides InSight, ETH is at the forefront of two other space missions. The exhibition will take you on a journey to the Moon, to Mars, to Venus and all the way to the edge of our solar system.

Learn more

InSight lander

Explore the interactive graphic and learn more about the InSight lander and its instruments.

Cartoon

Learn more about the InSight mission in The Oatmeal's cartoon.