NASA’s InSight Spacecraft Successfully Lands On Mars


Touchdown!

Image Credit: NASA.

“Landing confirmed”.

With these two words, the seven minutes of terror gave way to a blast of joy in the control room of the InSight mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA in Pasadena (United States).

On Monday, November 26, InSight (a $1billion NASA probe) became the eighth mission in the history of mankind to land successfully on the surface of Mars, after six months of travel from Earth.

“Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“InSight will study the interior of Mars and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners, and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.”

“The vehicle is reported nominal, this means it’s happy – the lander is not complaining,” chief engineer Rob Manning said as the team cheered in the control room.

“It’s going to chug along for the rest of the afternoon on Mars, and continue its activities.”

In fact, it is the first time in six years that a manmade spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of the red planet, and it’s time to get excited.

Not only will InSight send back some really cool Martian images, but the probe will also help understand the internal structure and evolution of the red planet in an unprecedented way.

InSight is special.

While previous Martian Missions were designed to study the surface and atmosphere of the red planet, InSight is the first mission designed to study the interior of the red planet.

During the next Martian year, it will collect and send data that will help us understand the internal structure and history of Mars.

‘In the years and the coming months, the history books will be rewritten about the interior of Mars,’ Hoffman said during the conference. 

InSight is equipped with three key instruments that will hopefully reveal Mars’ internal secrets.

The first instrument is its Seismometer which will listen to the pulses generated by Mars.

It also carries a heat probe, which will help us understand how much heat is still flowing on Mars. 

And InSight is also equipped with radio antennas.

The next few days will see mission controllers look for the ideal spot for InSight to put own its seismometers so it can begin collecting data. 

“Now that we’re on the surface of Mars, we have a lot of work to do,” Elizabeth Barrett, InSight Science Instruments Ops, explained during the press conference. 

 


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