NASA's InSight Probe Has Sent Back Its First Photos From Mars

Touchdown: NASA's InSight Lands on Mars (VIDEO)

NASA’s InSight Spacecraft Lands Successfully On Mars After 300-Million-Mile Journey

It launched May 5.

They checked and double-checked InSight's trajectory, aiming it toward a 6-by-15-mile keyhole in the Martian atmosphere that would guide the vehicle toward a carefully chosen landing spot on the ruddy surface. InSight will spend two years investigating the interior where the building blocks below the planet's surface that recorded its history.

The dramatic arrival of the $993 million spacecraft - created to listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet's inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago and, by extension, how other rocky planets like Earth took shape - marked the eighth successful landing on Mars in NASA's history.

InSight is set to be the first probe sent to investigate the interior of Mars.

A Tense Landing NASA engineers were forced to wait until the landing was over to know whether it was successful, as there's an eight-minute delay in communications between Mars and Earth and the landing only took about seven minutes. So, engineers from the space agency were twitchy sending off InSight and its satellites, particularly when it hit Mars" atmosphere and was faced with "seven minutes of terror'.

"He watched the whole thing, he is absolutely ecstatic about our programme, as you're aware he's the chairman of the National Space Council, and he's been a keen advocate of what we do and to have him call within seconds of mission success is incredible".

InSight had a six-minute window in which to decelerate from just under 13,000mph to 5mph - landing entirely based on autonomous and pre-programmed systems.

Touchdown: NASA's InSight Lands on Mars (VIDEO)
Mars InSight mission: What Nasa's trip to Red Planet aims to discover

InSight's first photo from the martian surface. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the device could detect how often Mars gets bombarded by asteroids. The InSight lander is interested in the Red Planet as a whole, including what's happening deep beneath the surface.

Three and a half minutes after entering the atmosphere, InSight deployed its parachute and ejected the heat shield. InSight is equipped with two cameras: the one that produced this picture is on the main body of the spacecraft and captures fish-eye images, which maximizes the field of vision for close-up work.

This photo provided by NASA shows the first image acquired by the InSight Mars lander after it touched down on the surface of Mars Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. The instrument will measure how much heat escapes from Mars' interior, which will reveal the amount of heat-producing radioactive elements it contains and how geologically active the planet is today.

Mars's wobble can provide us with information about the core of the planet, says Banerdt.

Seismic activity could come from various sources, Kirsten Siebach, assistant professor in Rice University's Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences told Gizmodo.

Horne said the mission could even bring us one step closer towards answering the question of whether aliens exist somewhere out there in the universe.

"We can now look forward to the deployment of the instrument and the data that will start to arrive in the new year, to improve our understanding of how the planet formed".

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