NASA's InSight lander successfully lands on Mars, prepares to investigate the planet's interior
As reported by Wired, confirmation of the lander’s touchdown was relayed to NASA engineers courtesy of two “briefcase-sized” satellites, dubbed Mars Cube One-A and Mars Cube One-B.
As you can probably imagine, everyone in NASA’s Mission Control room was pretty happy to hear that the lander had touched down safely. You can watch their reactions for yourself in the following 360 video, which was livestreamed on one of the organization’s official YouTube channels.
InSight’s first job is to deploy solar panels, which will be used to keep the machine running while it treks around Mars. While it’ll be some time before that happens, space enthusiasts have something to analyze in the interim: InSight’s first photograph of Mars, which can be seen below.
The picture is far from clear, due in no small part to the thick layer of dust and dirt coating InSight’s camera lens. However, we can likely expect to see better-quality images of the Red Planet in the future, as InSight’s mission progresses.
If you haven’t been keeping up with NASA’s InSight project so far, the lander was first launched on May 5, with the goal of giving us our first real look at Mars’ interior.
As Wired points out, InSight will spend its days performing a “sweeping geophysical investigation” that could answer some of science’s longest-standing questions about the planet – specifically, questions about its “formation, evolution, and composition.”