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洞察号探测器登陆火星,接下来要干什么?

Renae Reints 2018年12月02日

洞察号探测器登陆火星,接下来要干什么?

美国航空航天局 6年以来的首次火星登陆任务已经安全完成。这个名为“洞察号”的火星探测器于美国东部时间11月26日下午3点之前刚刚在这个红色星球上降落。

在着陆过程中,洞察号(InSight是“使用地震调查、测地学和热传输来进行内部探测”的首字母缩写)必须在6分钟的时间内,借助降落伞和多个引擎,将速度从1.23万英里/时降为零。由于电波传输的自然延迟,人们在7分钟的时间内对探测器是否已经安全着陆一无所知,也让那些几乎在7年前就开始从事这个8.3亿美元项目的工作人员着实紧张了一把。

如今,洞察号已在火星赤道北部的埃律西昂平原着陆,它将向地球发送其健康状况报告,以及周边环境图片。它已经发回了第一张图片,只是图片上的内容算不上丰富。

我在火星上拍的第一张图片!我的镜头盖还没有打开,但我还是迫不及待地向你们展示我对新家的第一印象。如需了解更多更新信息,请访问https://t.co/tYcLE3tkkS #MarsLanding pic.twitter.com/G15bJjMYxa

——美国航空航天局洞察号(@NASAInSight)2018年11月26日

洞察号有着特殊的任务:它将成为第一个探测火星内部构造的探测器。

洞察号将利用能够钻探5米深的“鼹鼠”钻头,测量火星内部温度。其结果将有助于科学家确认火星的构成成分,看看它是否与地球的构成相同。此外,它还将进一步揭示火星的进化过程。

洞察号还搭载了可测量轻微震动的地震仪,它将提供有关火星内部构造的更多信息,从而帮助科学家确认地表之下是否存在水或火山。

最终,洞察号将使用无线电传输来跟踪火星游离不定的自转轴。其结果将为科学家提供更多有关火星内核的信息。科学家已经知道火星内核含有大量的铁,但其中也有可能存在液体和其他元素。

所有这一切都将帮助科学家更好地了解行星的形成过程。

洞察号的首席科学家布鲁斯·巴兰特向BBC透露:“我们认为,行星如何进化的一些小细节造成了行星之间的差别:例如在地球上,人们可以度假,享受日光浴;在金星上,人们在数秒之内便会被烧的体无完肤;但在火星上,人们则会被冻死。”

《时代》周刊称,洞察号将把数据源源不断地传回地球,而且至少持续两年的时间。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

NASA’s first mission to Mars in six years has landed safely. The probe, titled InSight, touched down on the Red Planet just before 3 pm EST.

The landing required InSight (which stands for “Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport”) to decelerate from 12,300 mph to zero in six minutes, with the help of a parachute and a number of engines. Due to a natural delay in radio transmissions, no one knew if the probe landed safely for seven minutes—a tense wait for those who have worked on the $830 million-project since its beginning roughly seven years ago.

Now that it’s landed on Elysium Planitia, a plain north of Mars’ equator, InSight will send a health report and a picture of its surroundings. It’s already sent its first photo, although it’s not much to see.

My first picture on #Mars! My lens cover isn’t off yet, but I just had to show you a first look at my new home. More status updates:https://t.co/tYcLE3tkkS #MarsLanding pic.twitter.com/G15bJjMYxa

— NASAInSight (@NASAInSight) November 26, 2018

InSight’s mission is unique: It’ll be the first probe to explore the interior of Mars.

Using a “mole” capable of drilling 5 meters below the surface, InSight will be able to take the planet’s internal temperature. This will help scientists determine what Mars is made of—whether it’s the same material as Earth or not. Additionally, it’ll give further insights into how the planet evolved.

InSight is also equipped with seismometers to measure minor vibrations that will give more information on the planet’s internal structure, helping scientists determine whether there’s water or volcanoes below.

Finally, InSight will use radio transmissions to track how Mars wobbles on its axis. This will give scientists more data on Mars’ core. They know it’s rich in iron, but there may also be liquid and other elements.

All of this will help scientists better understand how planets form.

“The small details in how planets evolve are what we think make the difference between a place like Earth where you can go on vacation and get a tan, and a place like Venus where you’ll burn in seconds or a place like Mars where you’ll freeze to death,” InSight chief scientist Bruce Banerdt told BBC.

According to TIME, InSight is expected to send data back home for at least two years.

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