Why It’s So Hard To Land On Mars? Seven Minutes of Terror

By | January 29, 2020

Seven Minutes of Terror

Seven Minutes of terror that’s what NASA calls the process of putting a Lander on Mars , and they’re about to experience that again as NASA’s putting a new Lander on Mars. It’s called the InSight Lander. And putting a lander on Mars is not an easy task .

They have to slow the billion-dollar craft from 12,300 Miles Per Hour (MPH)  to zero MPH in just six minutes, and they won’t even be able to communicate with InSight as it happens.

Jonathan McDowell (Astronomer)

He explained , Why it’s so difficult to land on Mars when compared to the earth or even to the moon. He said landing on the moon is surprisingly easy. You just use rockets. You come down through the vacuum of space, right to the surface. You use rockets you land.

Seven Minutes of Terror

Landing on earth isn’t too hard either. We have a nice bouncy thick atmosphere. You belly flop on the atmosphere with a big heat shield, and that slows you down real good.

Landing on Mars

But Mars atmosphere is thinner than the Earth’s giving speeding crafts a smaller runway, and that’s why NASA needs options to get anything on to the surface safely. They come in with heat shield slowing , and then parachutes, and then rockets, and then in the case of Spirit Opportunity airbags.

They basically had like four or five different systems to get them to slow them down enough to land safely because no one system’s good enough. Unfortunately, there have been more than a few failures when it comes to getting a Lander or Rover on the surface of Mars.

Last Attempt

The last attempt to get a lander on Mars failed when the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli EBM lander couldn’t slow down fast enough. And In 1999 NASA’s Mars Polar Lander suffered a similar fate.

But of course there are successes too on top of the Rovers NASA currently has operating on the Red Planet , they successfully placed the Phoenix Rover in August of 2007 as well.

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