With the harrowing approach and landing complete, InSight will commence on a two-year mission to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.
This is the first image taken by NASA’s InSight lander on the surface of Mars. The instrument context camera (ICC) mounted below the lander deck obtained this image on November 26, 2018, shortly after landing. The transparent lens cover was still in place to protect the lens from any dust kicked up during landing. (Image source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
"Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” says 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 landing signal was relayed to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, via one of NASA's two small experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, which launched on the same rocket as InSight and followed the lander to Mars. They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space. After successfully carrying out numerous communications and in-flight navigation experiments, the twin MarCOs were set in position to receive transmissions during InSight's entry, descent, and landing.
InSight will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until November 24, 2020. The mission objectives of the two small MarCOs which relayed InSight’s telemetry was completed after their Martian flyby.
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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.
Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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