Officially known as marCO-A and marCO-B, the Mars Cube One duo is the first cubesets ever launched to any planet. On the early morning, Saturday, 5th May it was lifting into skies above California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base along with NASA's InSight Mars Lander. These cubesats gave Radio signals and were received on Sunday afternoon. The size of these cubesats is about the size of briefcase. NASA officially said that it has received Radio signals.
MarCO mission chief engineer Andy Klesh, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that if the signals are received that it’s a sign that the sats are alive and well. marCO-A and marCO-B are planned to fly to Mars the same day insight is scheduled to land. The fact is the cubesats will beam the data from insight to earth during the Lander’s harrowing "7 minutes of terror" entry, descent and landing sequence.
The NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will also be performing the same task as of marCO-A and marCO-B. Thus, these two cubesats do not have any crucial role in the same. Till date the cube sats were restricted to earth’s orbit whereas now it is no more restricted. The mission is to explore the interplanetary system through the cubesats. The marCO mission is approximately of $18.5.
By: Shruti Anand