NASA's InSight spacecraft successfully lands on Mars after six-month journey

30 November, 2018, 13:02 | Author: Emilio Conner
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Eastern Time, successfully completing a six-and-a-half month journey of more than 480 million kilometers. It is the beginning of the most extensive geological survey of a celestial body beyond Earth.

As for next steps, prep for the lander's upcoming two-year mission will begin.

As of this writing, all of the probe's systems are operating as expected. "The US is returning to the surface of the Moon, and we're doing it sooner than you think!"

"In the coming months and years even, history books will be rewritten about the interior of Mars", said JPL's director, Michael Watkins.

The picture was speckled with dirt because the dust cover was still on the lander's camera, but the terrain around the spacecraft looked smooth and sandy with just one sizable rock visible - pretty much what scientists had hoped for.

InSight's mission voyage to Mars and ongoing communications will also be supported by the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC), which is managed by the CSIRO on behalf of NASA. In the next few hours the device needs to open up solar panels. Also tomorrow commences a stimulating contemporary chapter for InSight.

InSight team members jumped for joy after waiting to see if the spacecraft would crash or make a successful landing. "And Mars is a great place to go and start to study that". Its probe to measure heat flow five meters below Mars' surface was made in Germany and Poland, its weather station in Spain and its laser reflector, which will be used for precision longitude, latitude and altitude measurements, in Italy.

Speeding faster than a bullet at 19,800km/h, the heat-shielded spacecraft encountered scorching friction as it entered the Mars atmosphere.

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The spacecraft was launched from California in May on its almost US$1 billion mission.

InSight arrived on Mars's Elysium Planitia area north of its equator, described as an ideal spot for its flat, rockless surface.

Nearly half of the attempts to land on Mars fail.

The first clear photo from the ground of Mars taken by NASA's InSight lander was sent back to Earth this week.

The landing data and initial photograph were relayed to Earth from two briefcase-sized satellites that were launched along with InSight and were flying past Mars as it reached its destination. It took eight minutes for the team back home to get the information form Mars. On Monday, Nov. 26, NASA TV will broadcast the landing from 11 12:30 p.m. PST/2 3:30 p.m. EST. They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space.

"It is wonderful news that the InSight spacecraft has landed safely on Mars", said Sue Horne, head of space exploration at the UK Space Agency. They are created to cut out the instant the probe lands because if they don't it will tip over.

The successful mission was a major source of pride for all of those involved.


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