A small satellite while going to Mars took some photos of the Earth and the moon. The Mars Cube one satellite which is named as MarCo was launched for its journey to the Mars along with the InSight Lander of NASA on May 5. This satellite took a picture of Earth and the moon on May 9 to prove that its high-gain antenna had started working correctly.
Andy Klesh who is the chief engineer of Marco at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory which is located in Pasadena in California has said that it was a homage that was paid to Voyager. He further noted that the CubeSats have never traveled such a long distance in space before. So it is a big hurdle that these CubeSats are crossing. The scientists have confirmed that both CubeSats are working correctly and that they are quite confident that the CubeSats will travel even further.
Except for the similarity regarding the “pale blue dot” that is present in the photo, the two CubeSats which are named as the MarCO-A and MarCo-B (or Wall-E and Eve), are nowhere near the Voyager 1 in the year of 1990. This Voyager took a historic photo at a distance of 3.7 billion miles. However, the two CubeSats took the picture when they were 620,000 miles away from Earth.
CubeSats are becoming very common within the earth’s orbit. In this location, they tend to perform a variety of activities such as playing various technology tests, studying and taking pictures of land and so on. But this is the first time that such small CubeSats have made their journey so deep into space.
MarCo-A and MarCo-B are invented in the JPL. They are actually on a mission to prove that satellites of such small version can also explore space to a considerable distance. They will also be responsible for testing few specific technologies such as a propulsion system that utilizes the similar cold, compressed gas which is commonly found in the fire extinguishers.
If everything goes according to the plan, then these CubeSats will be flying by Mars on 26th of Nov of this current year. On the same date, NASA’s InSight Lander will also be reaching the Red Planet. Even the MarCo teams want the CubeSats to fetch data in respect of the EDL sequence of the Lander and after that transmit the data back to Earth. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be doing the same work.