Did You Know We Made History Today?
Did You Know We Made History Today?  astronomy stories

aletifer I try to play gracefully with ideas.
Autoplay OFF   •   3 years ago
A very important event happened today. And no, it wasn't Cyber Monday.

Did You Know We Made History Today?

On the 26th, at half past two, A tiny speck slides into view: A bauble, conical and round Elysium-Planitia-bound Transmitting faith and led by purpose Behold, its journey to the surface:

2:37 Connections set and times locked in, The MRO will soon begin A carrier has been detected: UHF is soon expected MarCO Alpha now locks on Bravo, afterward, responds Crew-stage separation starts X-band signals drift apart And turning from its only star, The tiny speck approaches Mars...

2:45 Positions set, the power drains; Telemetry has been attained Signal strength and systems scanned Via MarCO Relay Band The path for EDL now known, The tiny speck descends alone

2:47 At seven Gs, descent begins The heat shield tilts and slowly spins Lander signals disconnected— Plasma blackout now expected Signals lost, but still in lock The tiny speck confronts the rock

2:49 Peak acceleration passed With MarCO signals now recast A rigid silence fills the room As parachute inflation looms At one kilometer per second, Our rusted brother-world has beckoned Doppler marks a sudden change: The landing site is within range

Heat shield separation marked Then radar issues through the dark Altitude convergence nears As surface boulders soon appear The separation’s been commanded: Uplink signals all disbanded 80 meters, then it lands: A tiny speck in chance’s hands

2:53 Sixty meters toward the sphere Fifty meters, drawing near Acceleration disallowed Thirty meters—twenty, now Seventeen, and all stood by To turn their heads and mark the sky A single pulse, and then they learned: Contact made—and now confirmed

2:57 The engineers, ecstatic, whirled As well the nation, then the world Decades planning, feigning hope They reached beyond each telescope To Mars, whose radiant decay Reveals the blueprints God had made

An engineer’s elated fever Crackles through command receivers: “Let’s go again! Let’s go again!” For now the science can begin With more to learn, and more to see The more we’re able to achieve

Most of the details from this short story came from the live feed of NASA's InSight landing, which took place November 26. I watched it live, taking notes of the time of each event, then wrote this up. The actual mission is far more impressive. I'd encourage anyone to read up on it—this isn't your typical mission to Mars.

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