After the United Arab Emirates and China Tianwen-1 Hope ships reach Mars, the next mission to reach the Red Planet is NASA’s Mars 2020, which will land there next Thursday (18) and should have the descent recorded by the InSight probe.
On Martian soil since 2018, InSight has instruments sensitive enough to try to capture the sound of the arrival of the mission that takes the Perseverance rover and the small Ingenuity helicopter and also the impact of the spacecraft when touching the ground, even at 3.2 thousand km away from the new equipment landing site.
During that time in our space neighbor, the probe has already recorded hundreds of seismic shocks on the Red Planet, also called “tidal waves”, but has not yet had the chance to detect more substantial impact events, such as the fall of a meteorite, for example , because defining the exact moment of this type of occurrence is more complicated.
The opportunity to detect the impact of a foreign body on the surface of Mars will now appear, with Mars 2020 approaching, following the entry, descent and landing, a sequence known as the “seven minutes of terror”, because of the risks that the ship runs through the process.
The importance of records
According to InSight team member Ben Fernando, records of the mission’s impact with the ground and the sonic boom created by the spacecraft plunging into the Martian atmosphere are of “enormous scientific value”.
“This would be extremely useful and of interest to independently verify some of our understandings about the structure of Mars and the way the waves propagate inside,” commented Fernando in an interview with Universe Today.
However, NASA is still unsure whether the sound will travel far enough for the probe to detect it.