The Growing Influence of Engineering in Space

With recent news involving spacecraft landing on Mars, the effect of engineers in space discovery is becoming more apparent to the public. Previously, most people would credit astronauts for their heroic duties in accomplishing the inner desire of humans: exploring the unknown. Now, engineers and scientists are proving to be the initiators of this approach, and their recent successes deserve to be highlighted. In this article, I will talk about the recent spacecraft landing on Mars and illustrate the ingenuity engineers exemplified in order for this landing to take place.

InSightSee the source image

This little guy right here landed on Mars on the 26th of November, 2018. While it appears to be quite small and fragile, it is actually one of the strongest and most difficult to engender products NASA has worked on. The cost to produce it reached over $800 million, proving a risky and costly endeavor for NASA to partake in. Nevertheless, with the efficient labor of the aeronautical researchers, aerospace engineers and astrophysicists that lent their strengths to NASA, it proved worthwhile. The potential held by InSight could change space exploration for the century, and so far it is doing just that.

HOW DID THE ENGINEERS DESIGN IT?

The primary goal of the engineers was to incorporate the ability of a seismometer with the mobility of a spaceship. This was a difficult goal that would perhaps require a large magnitude of resources and tools in order to accomplish. Thus, Lockheed Martin, the manufacturing company, rendered their initial design to be as simple as possible. They used computer-aided designing software as well as an artistic rendering in order to plan how it would appear. With this model established, engineers at Lockheed Martin were able to request the specific tools from European Agencies to construct InSight. To limit expenses, they even reused tools from NASA’s Phoenix Lander.

WHAT DOES IT DO ON MARS?

As similar technology to seismometers was used to construct InSight, it holds a similar purpose to a standard seismometer. It studies the ground motions of Mars to record its geographic features on and below the surface. Not only that, but it records all of this in extremely precise 3D models. The entire heat flow of mars, as well as its seismic activity that was previously undiscoverable by scientists, is now able to be understood completely due to the efforts by InSight. What this enables for future generations is an improved understanding of the composition of the planets among our solar system, as well as how they form and develop, and their similarities and differences to Earth.

HOW WILL IT BETTER THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS IN THE FUTURE?

Just as I began to explain previously, this furthering of technological innovation in space enables mankind to achieve the goal of exploration. With what we learn from space exploration, the field of science grows as a direct result, enhancing the daily lives of individuals generation by generation. The questions we have about life today will only be answered with an enduring spirit, and NASA’s work in designing InSight is a stellar example of what this spirit can foster.

In the end, engineers are a significant puzzle piece of space exploration. Without them, space exploration would not be possible the way it is. Therefore, it is vital that the public understands the position engineers hold. Engineering thrives on innovation, which is a feature of life that will never die. And it is this innovation that bolsters space exploration – for our attempts to learn what is beyond us are testaments to the mentality we hold in our daily lives.

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