First Images From NASA's Insight Lander

Mars In Sight Lander Successfully Touches Down on The Red Planet

Mars In Sight Lander Successfully Touches Down on The Red Planet

"Its new home is Elysium Planitia, a still, flat region where it's set to study seismic waves and heat deep below the surface of the Red Planet for a planned two-year mission", NASA tweeted. It launched May 5.

It may even shed light on a little-understood process which allowed the Sun's "solar wind" to strip Mars of its atmosphere - a disaster which may also have contributed to the disappearance of the vast bodies of water which once flooded the Martian surface.

During its two year mission on Mars, InSight will use instruments to study the planet's interior.

Only 40% of missions sent to the Red Planet by any agency have been successful.

The first image from InSight
Source NASA

The success a pair of cubesats achieved in relaying telemetry from NASA's InSight Mars lander demonstrates that such spacecraft can play increasing roles in future deep space missions, spacecraft designers believe.

The suspenseful landing, which followed what engineers described as "seven minutes of terror" as the robot rapidly decelerated from 12,300 to 5 miles per hour, is NASA's first such landing attempt on the Red Planet in six years.

"While most of the country was enjoying Thanksgiving with their family and friends, the InSight team was busy making the final preparations for Monday's landing", said Tom Hoffman of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who is InSight's project manager.

The 880-pound (360 kg) InSight - its name is short for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport - marks the 21st USA -launched Mars mission, dating back to the Mariner fly-bys of the 1960s.

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REUTERS/Mike BlakeHow did NASA's InSight spacecraft land on Mars?

A man takes pictures of a model of the CubeSat MarCO which trails the InSight lander on its mission to Mars at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on November 26, 2018. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the device could detect how often Mars gets bombarded by asteroids.

Minutes later, JPL controllers received a fuzzy "selfie" photograph of the probe's new surroundings on the Red Planet, showing the edge of one lander leg beside a rock.

"I can't say how satisfying it is to be within a stone's throw of getting that information about Mars", said JPL geophysicist Suzanne Smrekar, the deputy principal investigator for the mission. The long-awaited landing came with the usual "seven minutes of terror" while signals from Mars crawled back to Earth at the speed of light. It will take between two to three months for the robotic arm to place the mission's instruments on the surface. They actually have a radio transmitter attached to this spacecraft that will be able to determine how the planet wobbles.

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He said it was a little unusual to realize that by the time word arrived, history had already been made eight minutes earlier because of the lag in communication between Mars and Earth. It's a look at Mars scientists have never had before.

InSight, which stands for "Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport", is a stationary science platform with a suite of instrumentation that will work in concert to give the planet an "ultrasound".

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