Artist’s concept of the MarCO CubeSats. On May 5, 2018, NASA launched a stationary lander called InSight to Mars. All previous CubeSats have orbited the Earth. Each MarCO generates electric power with a pair of photovoltaic panels, and each panel has an area of about 12 inches by 12 inches (30 centimeters by 30 centimeters). The "cruise" period of flying from Earth to Mars will be used to complete the communication and navigation technology demonstration objectives.
We’ve gotten a lot better at sending craft to Mars over the decades, but it’s still not without risk. What part don’t you understand? Originally, CubeSats were developed to teach university students about satellites, but have since become a major commercial technology. If all goes according to plan, MarCO-A and -B will fly by Mars on Nov. Artist’s concept of the twin MarCO spacecraft – called Wall-E and Eva by spaceflight engineers – as they fly through deep space.