We officially have pictures of the Mars surface. Insight, NASA’s probe finally reached the Red Planet and it sent back some snapshots home. The robot had to travel 548 million km and it reached Mars on Monday.
The mission controls was especially nervous during the last seven minutes, when the probe had to go through the atmosphere of the planet. However, the spacecraft made it, and it appears that it landed almost perfectly.
“It is wonderful news that the InSight spacecraft has landed safely on Mars.
The UK scientists and engineers involved in this mission have committed several years of their lives to building the seismometer on board and the descent is always a worrying time.
We can now look forward to the deployment of the instrument and the data that will start to arrive in the new year to improve our understanding of how the planet formed,” declared Sue Horne, head of space Exploration at the UK Space Agency.
This is the eighth successful Mars landing. NASA also got the Curiosity rover on Mars back in 2012, and the robot is still exploring the Red Planet. However, this probe will focus on Mars’ interior, trying to understand its core. The temperature of the planet will be measured while another experiment will try to determine how Mars wobbles on its axis.
Right after it landed, Insight sent back a picture. While the snapshot was not that clear because dust reached the camera, we are able to see that the robot found the perfect parking space, and area that is smooth, with no big rocks. It took eight minutes for the team back home to get the information form Mars. Two satellites trailing InSight were the ones responsible for the snapshot.