NASA's latest interplanetary probe sent its first selfie from the bare surface of Mars after it successfully reached the planet after a seven-month journey through space.
The American space agency has released a photo by the InSight spacecraft shortly after it landed and showed part of the probe and the surface of Mars in the distance.
A NASA satellite circled on the red planet and brought in images of the $ 1 billion (£ 0.78 billion) space ship from the landing site, known as Elysium Planitia, back to earth at 8:30 PM EST (1:30 AM) hours GMT) on Monday.
The successful transfer confirmed that the InSight solar panels, also known as solar panels, have now been successfully opened, which means that it can collect sunlight and recharge it every day.
NASA & # 39; s latest interplanetary probe has sent its first selfie from the bare surface of Mars. The photograph shows part of the probe and the surface of Mars in the distance
Tom Hoffman, InSight's project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Nasa, said: "The InSight team can be a bit calmer tonight now that we know that the solar panels of the spacecraft are being deployed and that the batteries are being used. charged.
& # 39; It was a long day for the team.
& # 39; But tomorrow begins an exciting new chapter for InSight: surface activities and the beginning of the instrument implementation phase. & # 39;
Using the InSight robot arm, with a camera attached, the mission team can take more photos in the coming days, Nasa said.
This will help engineers determine where the scientific instruments of the spacecraft should be installed, starting within two to three months to send data back to Earth.
The InSight-lander arrived on Mars just before 15:00 (20:00 GMT) on Monday and survived the so-called & # 39; seven minutes of terror & # 39 ;, a tricky landing phase for the robotic probe.
This image shows some of the instruments that are visible in the selfie image sent back to earth by InSight on Tuesday morning
A NAS satellite in orbit around the red planet brought images from InSight from the landing site, known as Elysium Planitia, back to Earth at 8:30 pm EST (1:30 GMT). MarCO-B, one of two experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars of about 4700 miles (6,000 kilometers) away during its flyby from the Red Planet on November 26, 2018
It drove 13,200 mph (21,200 km / h) when it entered the thin atmosphere of the planet, which offers little friction to slow down.
The purpose of the two-year mission of the American space agency Nasa is to shed new light on how the Red Planet was formed and its deep structure, by mapping its core, crust and cloak.
InSight arrived on Mars & # 39; s Elysium Planitia area north of its equator, described as an ideal spot for its flat, rocky surface.
It was NASA's eighth successful landing on Mars since the Viking probes of 1976, and the first in six years. NASA & # 39; s Curiosity Rover, which arrived in 2012, is still on Mars on its way.
Only 40 percent of the missions to the planet have passed and are all led by the US.
This image shows some of the instruments loaded on the InSight lander from NASA, which landed on the red planet on Monday
The successful transfer confirms that the InSight solar panels, known as solar panels, have now been successfully opened (artist's impression), which means that it can collect sunlight and recharge every day.
InSight & # 39; s first photo: the Mars-lander sent his first photo (photo above) minutes after his nerve-racking descent to the red planet on Monday. The protective cover of the camera was smeared with scientists who believe that Mars is dust
The InSight lander traveled through space for six months, but the long journey finally ended a few minutes on Monday afternoon. Many NASA engineers were in tears when the landing was finally confirmed
Scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California could jump into the control room and cheer when they noticed the successful landing
Minutes after he landed on Mars, the NASA InSight spacecraft sent a beautiful and dirty one. snapshot of the red planet back.
The photo revealed a predominantly soft and sandy terrain around the spacecraft with only one large rock visible.
"I am very happy that it seems like we have an incredibly safe and boring landing site," said project manager Tom Hoffman after landing Monday. & # 39; That's exactly what we went for. & # 39;
A better picture came hours later and more are expected in the coming days, after the dust covers from the cameras of the lander.
The spaceship arrived on Mars after a dangerous, supersonic dive through its red sky that lasted only six minutes.
InSight drove 13,200 mph (21,200 km / h) when it entered the thin atmosphere of the planet, offering little friction to slow down. Depicted is the artist's impression of the lander who descends to the surface of Mars on his parachute
InSight gets into a region known as Elysium Planitia. The location can be seen on the map above, not far from the landing site of the Curiosity mission of 2012, the last NASA probe to land on Mars.
& # 39; Touchdown confirmed! & # 39; a controller asked just before 15:00 EST (20:00 GMT), stirring up the enthusiasm of scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who had waited for more than 100 million miles in quirky excitement ( 160 million kilometers) of space.
Because of the distance between Earth and Mars, it took eight minutes for the confirmation to arrive, relayed by a few small satellites with the names Wall-E and Eve following InSight during the six-month 300-million mile (482-million kilometers).
& # 39; Flawless & # 39 ;, explained chief engineer of JPL, Rob Manning. Sometimes things work in your favor. & # 39;
InSight, an international project of $ 1 billion (£ 0.78 billion), contains a German mechanical mole that will nest at a distance of 16 feet (5 meters) to measure the internal heat of Mars.
The first instrument that InSight demonstrated was his camera – although the lens cap was still on. & # 39; My first photo about #Mars! & # 39; the InSight account tweeted after landing, next to a grainy photo of a reddish-brown background. The space agency has released a high-resolution version soon after
THE THREE KEY INSTRUMENTS OF INSIGHT
The lander who could reveal how the earth was formed: InSight lander deposited Mars on 26 November
The InSight Lander & # 39; can take the pulse with three important instruments & # 39; from the red planet:
seismometer: The InSight lander wears one seismometer, SEIS, that listens to the pulse of Mars.
The seismometer records the waves traveling through the inner structure of a planet.
Studying seismic waves tells us what the waves could be.
On Mars scientists suspect that the culprits might be marsquakes or that meteorites fall on the surface.
Heat probe: The InSight heat pump probe, HP3, rakes deeper than other scoops, drills or probes on Mars.
It will investigate how much heat still flows from Mars.
Radio antennas: Like the earth, Mars wobbles a bit when it rotates around its axis.
To study this, two radio antennas, part of the RISE instrument, closely follow the location of the lander.
This helps scientists test the planet's reflexes and tells them how the deep inner structure affects the movement of the planet around the sun.
Experts hope that the mission will be the first to unlock geological secrets from the hidden core of the planet, using a probe to dig 16 ft (5 m) below the surface. Pictured: an artist's impression of Nasa & # 39; s InSight lander (left) that is about to come down on Mars (right)
The lander also has a French seismometer for measuring earthquakes, if it exists on our smaller, geologically quieter neighbor, as well as on three seismometer instruments made in the United Kingdom.
Another experiment will calculate the wobble of Mars to reveal the composition of the core of the planet.
Late Monday, NASA reported that the vital solar panels of the spacecraft were open and the batteries were charging.
During the next & # 39; sols & # 39; – or Mars days of 24 hours, 39½ minutes – flight controllers will assess the health of InSight's extremely important robot arm and its scientific instruments.
A seismometer with sensors designed and made at Imperial College in London and tested at the University of Oxford will also investigate the impact of earthquakes and meteorite strikes. Artist & # 39; s impression pictured
NASA TV coverage was shown on the giant screen at Times Square in New York, where people are huddled under umbrella & # 39; s in the rain
It will take months to set up and refine the instruments, and chief scientist Bruce Banerdt said he does not expect to receive a flow of fixed data until the beginning of next spring.
Banerdt called InSight & # 39; s first snapshot of the surface the first piece of science, be it nice and nasty & # 39 ;. He said the image would be cleaned and the black dots would disappear.
That photo came from a camera that was almost empty on the lander. Last Monday, NASA released a clean photo, made by a higher camera, which showed a part of the lander and the landscape.
The 800-pound (360-kilogram) InSight is stationary and works from the same place for the next two years, the duration of a Mars-year.
"In the coming months and even years, history books will be rewritten about the interior of Mars", said JPL's director, Michael Watkins.
NASA this time with its old, uncomplicated approach, using a parachute and braking system to get InSight's speed of 12,300 mph (19,800 km / h) when it crossed the Martian atmosphere, about 77 miles (114 kilometers) ) to 5 mph (8 km / h) at the landing.
The danger was that the spacecraft could burn up or reflect in the atmosphere.
Many Mars-bound spacecraft, launched by the US, Russia and other countries, have been lost or destroyed over the years, with a success rate of only 40 percent, apart from InSight.
The InSight probe entered the atmosphere of Mars at 12,300 mph before a series of 12 thrusters delayed it to 5 mph for a safe landing. An artist's impression of his Mars entry is shown
The three-legged InSight settled on the western side of Elysium Planitia, the plain that NASA aspired to.
Museums, planetariums and libraries across the US held spectators to watch the events at JPL.
NASA TV coverage has also been shown on the giant screen in Times Square in New York, where people are huddled under umbrella & # 39; s in the rain.
"What a great day for our country", said Jim Bridenstine, chairman of his first Mars landing as NASA boss.
The well-conserved interior of Mars provides a snapshot of how the earth looked after the formation 4.5 billion years ago, according to Banerdt.
While the earth is seismically active, Mars decided to rest on its laurels after it had formed, he said.
InSight arrived on Mars & # 39; s Elysium Planitia area north of its equator, described as an ideal spot for its flat, rocky surface. It is the first attempt to reach Mars within six years (file photo)
By researching and mapping the interior of Mars, scientists hope to learn why the rocky planets in our solar system have become so different and why the earth has become a refuge for life.
Yet there are no life detectors on board InSight. The next NASA mission, the Mars 2020 rover, will hunt for rocks that may contain evidence of old life.
The question of whether life has ever existed in the wet, watery past of Mars is what brings NASA back to the fourth rock of the sun.
After InSight had landed, the two experimental satellites zoomed in on Mars, doing their main job. One took a final photo of the red planet that farewell to the chief engineer of the satellites, Andy Klesh, & # 39; farewell to InSight … to Mars & # 39; called.