Composition of the soil of Jupiter and the seismology of Mars. What will NASA's two key missions learn?

What missions are we talking about?

  • Insight

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, formerly called

Geophysical Monitoring Station - GEMS) - NASA's Discovery mission to deliver a research lander with a seismometer to Mars.

InSight launched on May 5, 2018 from the baseVandenberg at 04:05 Pacific coast time (14:05 Moscow time) using the Atlas V 401 launch vehicle. First, the station was launched into polar orbit around the Earth, and then, after turning on the engines, it entered the flight path to Mars.

On November 26, 2018 at 10:53 pm Moscow time, InSight successfully landed on the surface of Mars on the Elysian Plain and transmitted the first image.

First images transmitted by the unit

Within two years, InSight will studyinternal structure of Mars, registering tremors. They can arise for various reasons, in particular, as a result of the fall of meteorites that do not burn up in the more tenuous Martian atmosphere. The first attempts of such studies were carried out using seismographs on the Viking-1 and Viking-2 descent vehicles launched to Mars in 1975.

However, this device did not work on Viking-1after landing, and on Viking-2 it did not have sufficient sensitivity, since it was installed not on Martian soil, but on the descent vehicle. InSight is equipped with much more advanced instrumentation, which is expected to record both meteorite falls and deep processes.

In addition, at the automatic station, whichwill remain at one point throughout the entire research cycle, equipment for measuring the temperature of subsoil layers, as well as a six-meter drill, have been installed. Radio signaling devices are installed on the surface of the station, which will make it possible to accurately measure the parameters of the motion of Mars in orbit.

Scientific objectives of the program Insight are:

  • study of the geological evolution of the terrestrial planets of the solar system, such as Mars and Earth, by studying the internal structure and processes occurring in the thickness of the Martian soil;
  • determination of the size, composition and state of aggregation of the planet's core;
  • determination of the thickness and structure of the bark;
  • determination of the composition and structure of the mantle;
  • determination of the temperature of the interior of Mars;
  • study of the current level of tectonic activity and the frequency of falling meteorites;
  • study of the strength, frequency and geographical distribution of tectonic activity;
  • study of the frequency of falling meteorites.

Probable Marsquake Signal

  • Juno, or Juno

Juno is an automatic interplanetary stationNASA launched on August 5, 2011 to explore Jupiter. This is the second project under the New Frontiers program. The spacecraft entered the polar orbit of the gas giant on July 5, 2016.

The purpose of the mission is to study gravitational andthe planet's magnetic fields, as well as testing the hypothesis that Jupiter has a solid core. In addition, the device must study the planet's atmosphere - determining the content of water and ammonia in it, as well as building a map of winds that can reach speeds of 618 km / h.

Juno became the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after Galileo, which orbited the gas giant from 1995 to 2003.

Juno (3D-model)

The spacecraft is powered by solarbatteries, which is more typical for spacecraft operating near the terrestrial planets, while RTGs are most often used in flights to outer planets. Juno solar panels are the largest solar panels currently used by robotic interplanetary stations to generate electricity. In addition, three solar panels play a critical role in stabilizing the vehicle.

At the initial design stage, in 2005,it was planned that the cost of the mission will not exceed 700 million US dollars, provided that the launch will be carried out no later than June 30, 2010. However, the costs were subsequently revised upwards. In December 2008, it was announced that taking into account inflation and the postponement of the launch to August 2011, the mission's total budget would slightly exceed $ 1 billion.

Juno launch

What has been learned from the Juno and InSight missions?

InSight has been designed to study the surface andmantle of Mars with a highly sensitive seismometer. During their work, since 2018, scientists have been able to obtain a lot of data on earthquakes on the Red Planet. Now, until December 2022, InSight will continue to study the seismic activity on the planet.

The Juno spacecraft and its team were able toto make discoveries regarding the internal structure of Jupiter, its magnetic and gravitational fields. NASA intends to extend this mission until September 2025, or until the end of the spacecraft operation, if this happens earlier.

It is planned that during this time the mission will be able toexpand the field of study and also cover the Jupiter system: the rings of the giant of the solar system and its satellites - Ganymede, Io and Europa. "Both missions - Juno and InSight - expanded our understanding of the solar system, and also provided the basis for many different questions," - written on the NASA website.

Why are missions extended?

Juno's mission has expanded our knowledge of internalstructure of Jupiter, magnetosphere. We have learned that its atmospheric dynamics is much more complex than scientists previously thought. Extended until September 2025 or end of service life (whichever comes first).

InSight mission extended by two years, until December2022 year. In the search and identification of earthquakes on Mars, the mission team collected data clearly demonstrating the strong tectonic activity of the Red Planet.

Extend the scientific programs of both devicesthe agency was recommended by an independent group of experts, which concluded that both Juno and InSight provide unique scientific data and are capable of working further, which is cheaper than creating new devices. The Juno program has been extended until September 2025 or end of life as the vehicle is exposed to charged particles from Jupiter's radiation belts, which puts a strain on its electronics.

What will Juno and InSight be learning?

InSight's expanded mission will becreating a long-term set of high quality seismological data on Mars, NASA said. It is important to note that InSight is a stationary vehicle that is unable to navigate the surface of the Red Planet.

In line with new plans, InSight's missionextended for two years - until December 2022. The device is designed to study the internal structure and processes occurring in the thickness of the Martian soil. The complex of scientific equipment includes a seismometer and a probe for measuring the heat flow under the planet's surface.

It is expected that during this time the seismometer and weathersensors will be able to obtain a large amount of data on processes in the interior of Mars and seasonal changes in climate, and the HP3 tool can still unfold a tape with temperature sensors in the soil to determine its thermal properties.

The Juno mission was extended until 2025 (the station was planned to be deorbited in 2021), the device will study not only Jupiter, but also its system - the rings, as well as the satellites Ganymede, Io and Europa.

Juno is under construction. Rotary bench tests.

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