Have you ever stopped to think about what your life would be like if it wasn’t for technology? I mean, just take a quick moment to ponder that thought. I’m sitting in my bedroom, where I can turn the lights on with my iPhone, I can stream television shows through a tiny box and I can ask Alexa to play music from my Spotify account. I’m also typing this on one of the best pieces of equipment ever made. And all of this can be done from my bed. I mean, that’s incredible – especially from a technology perspective. But how does technology impact our lives in other ways? Maybe it doesn’t impact you directly, but let’s talk about what it does in terms of scientific advancements.
On Monday (today), you will be able to watch as NAS lands its InSight mission on Mars. That’s right, technology is giving you the ability to watch a rocket ship land on a planet that we know very little about. InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) has set out to learn about the interior of the Red Planet and how it was formed, with the hope that we’ll learn more about the origins of our own planet.
InSight will drip deep below the surface of Mars to find out about quakes (I’d like to say earthquakes, but these are occurring on Mars) as well as the interior heat of the planet. Not only that, but it will be able to bounce radio signals back and forth to Earth, letting scientists know whether Mars wobbles on its orbit. This will ultimately tell us about the composition of the planet’s core. And that will give us more insight (no pun intended) into what the red planet is capable of doing.
The calculations that go into the InSight landing are something out of this world. After six months zooming through space, the InSight lander will make its way to the Martian surface in just six minutes. It will enter the Martian atmosphere at a speed of 12,300 miles per hour (5.5 kilometers per second), at a perfectly calculated angle of 12 degrees to make sure it doesn’t burn up or bounce off the atmosphere altogether. This takes me back to my original thoughts – technology has brought us a long way. And it doesn’t have to be just in a way that benefits you or I directly. These kinds of technological advancements are being seen all around us.
Further, you’ll be able to watch this in your home, on the internet. Isn’t it amazing to be able to see this kind of achievement? Whether or not this will work is another matter. No, I’m not saying that it won’t, but what if it doesn’t? Be sure to hold your breath as InSight touches down. Starting this morning at 11, if you’re on the west coast, you can watch all of this incredible work in action. But if you’re on the east coast, you’ll have to wait until 2 pm to tune in. NASA will be live streaming this on their website, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Enjoy the marvels of technology and science together.