While all watched the last landing of the device on Mars by NASA, in parallel with this there was another important event. Two tiny cube satellites “CABSAT” (CubeSat) — traveled with InSight, sending data to the Ground coming from the probe. No one has ever sent these tiny moons this far before. Could this mission mark the beginning of an era of low-cost exploration of the Solar system?
The spacecraft, known as MarCO-a and MarCO-B, went into space on the same rocket that launched InSight in may of this year. However, they are equipped with other equipment, unlike the NASA module. And they just flew with InSight on the same trajectory to Mars. Flying with” Insight ” 484 million kilometers, they remained in space, not landing on Mars.
Cubs conquered Mars
They were launched is an inexpensive satellites designed for fundamental space research. By themselves, they are whole cubes. Some satellites consist of one such cube, some of several. In the case of the Mars Cube One, NASA has collected them from the original six units. The total cost of the project was 18 million dollars — it is much less than usual require probes for deep space.
NASA initially tested these tiny ships by taking a picture of the Earth a few weeks after launch, and then we didn’t hear anything about them until InSight made its landing. Then they were launched reached out and used their experimental antenna with high gain for transmission of data from InSight Earth. Thus proved that small-scale satellites are perfect for the study of the Solar system.
Unfortunately, at some point the MarCO-A system did not work correctly. MarCO-B was able to send several images of Mars, which helped NASA to collect some data about the atmosphere. The photo above cubsat made at a height of approximately 7600 kilometers away from Mars.