Nasa’s InSight takes selfie on Mars after dramatic 7 minute plunge


After seven months of traveling through space, the NASA InSight mission has landed on Mars.

NASA's InSight spacecraft arrived on Mars on Monday after a perilous, supersonic plunge. It turns out that "Green Day Since 1986" was etched on a chip that was part of the lander.

The spacecraft is meant to be solar-powered once it reaches the surface of Mars. "With missions like this, there are no guarantees; historically, less than half of the world's missions to Mars have been successful".

"Although we've done it before, landing on Mars is hard, and this mission is no different", Rob Manning, NASA's chief engineer at the jet propulsion laboratory, said in a statement.

"Touchdown confirmed!" a flight controller called out just before 3:00pm EST, instantly dispelling the anxiety that had gripped the control room as the spacecraft made its six-minute descent.

San Francisco's impact on the National Football League this season hasn't been huge, but they inspired a celebration that was used after landing a rover on Mars.

Because Mars is further away from the sun than Earth, it gets weaker sunlight, so it's crucial that InSight's solar panels generate as much energy as possible.

InSight's primary instrument is a French-built seismometer, created to record the slightest vibrations from "marsquakes" and meteor impacts around the planet.

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Confirmation of a successful touchdown is not the end of the challenges of landing on the Red Planet.

Next up is NASA's Mars 2020 rover, which is modeled on Curiosity and planned to launch in summer 2021 for a February 2021 landing.

The first two images from InSight, both confirming that the mission has successfully landed and transmit data from the Martian surface.

Meanwhile, InSight will continue to send reports to earth from its weather sensors and magnetometer. Just six minutes before it attempts a landing, it will have been traveling at 14,100 miles per hour.

Utilizing InSight's robotic arm, which has a camera as an attachment, therefore the mission team will be able to capture more photographs in the future. This includes a seismometer to study Marsquakes (tectonic activity on Mars) and a radio science experiment that will calculate the size and rotation of Mars' core and mantle. But InSight is expected to yield the first meaningful data on planetary seismic tremors beyond Earth.

The three-legged InSight settled on the western side of Elysium Planitia, the plain that NASA was aiming for.

A second instrument, furnished by Germany's space agency, consists of a drill to burrow as much as five metres (16 feet) underground, pulling behind it a rope-like thermal probe to measure heat flowing from inside the planet.