Mars has a new visitor on its rocky surface after the successful landing of NASA’s InSight probe.
After a journey of 458 million kilometres that took seven months to complete, the Martian hit the red planet’s atmosphere at 19 800 kilometres per hour. After hitting the atmosphere it took just six and a half minutes to touch down on Mars on a section called Elysium Planitia.
You can watch the reaction from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory below. We’ve started the video moments before InSight hits the Martian atmosphere and begins it descent. The confirmation of touchdown happens at 55 minutes.
“Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Shortly after touchdown NASA was able to snap a picture from the surface of Mars.
— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) November 26, 2018
It’s not very clear thanks to the lens cap being on but a few hours later we received this beauty from InSight.
— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) November 27, 2018
InSight will soon set to work on examining the interior of Mars in a bid to help scientists back on Earth understand more about rocky planets in our solar system.
The mission on Mars is expected to last for one Martian year and 40 sols (days).
“Every Mars landing is daunting, but now with InSight safely on the surface we get to do a unique kind of science on Mars,” director at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Michael Watkins, said in a statement.
“The experimental MarCO CubeSats have also opened a new door to smaller planetary spacecraft. The success of these two unique missions is a tribute to the hundreds of talented engineers and scientists who put their genius and labor into making this a great day,” Watkins said.
Well done to the team at NASA and its international partners for getting InSight to our celestial neighbour, here’s hoping we learn more about our planet and our solar system.