Six minutes of terror, then rover lands on Mars

Mars InSight mission: What Nasa's trip to Red Planet aims to discover

Mars InSight mission: What Nasa's trip to Red Planet aims to discover

InSight should land on a sandy area of Mars, where it will take readings on the heat of the core, up to five metres below the surface.

Vice President Mike Pence called with his congratulations right away, Bridenstine added.

InSight will spend 24 months, about one Martian year, examining Mars.

After a 458-million-kilometer (300-million-mile) journey lasting seven months, NASA successfully landed their newest probe on Mars yesterday, to the delight of its employees.

InSight has already made the first photo and "selfie".

The team had good reason to celebrate given the challenges the spacecraft had to overcome, CBS News' Bill Harwood reported. For this, InSight had to autonomously deploy a supersonic parachute, gather its radar measurements, and ignite its thrusters - all within seven minutes of reaching the Martian atmosphere.

26 November 2018 at about 23:00 Moscow time on the surface of the red planet landed the first device, which is to study its internal structure.

It's aiming for flat red plains, hopefully low on rocks.

Sight Mars lander sent back
Sight Mars lander sent back

"Mars is on the cusp between being an active planet and a dead planet, in terms of its capacity to evolve", Bibring says.

The stationary 360kg lander will use its 1.8m robotic arm to place a mechanical mole and seismometer on the ground.

The $1 billion global effort calls for the robotic geologist to explore Mars' mysterious interior.

InSight is being followed to Mars by two mini-spacecraft comprising NASA's Mars Cube One (MarCO), the first deep-space mission for CubeSats aiming to relay data from InSight as it enters the planet's atmosphere and lands. It'll take several hours before researchers get this thumbs-up, so the big celebrations are on hold a bit longer.

In the following days, NASA's InSight is expected to conduct a self-audit of all its scientific instruments on board, and survey the martian surface for an optimal site to deploy these instruments. Principal investigator Bruce Banerdt said: "The reason why we're digging into Mars is to better understand not just Mars, but the Earth itself".

By examining the interior of Mars, scientists hope to create 3D images that could reveal how the solar system's rocky planets formed 4.5 billion years ago and why they turned out so different.

Two NASA mission controllers who worked on the InSight immediately began a complicated, elaborate handshake that has gone viral. The researchers will run simulations on their model at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory before sending instructions to InSight.

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