NASA’s InSight lander has arrived safely on Mars, and the first clear pictures have come back.
The lander is on Mars with the intention of gaining further insight into the planet by studying its deep interior. The journey, which has taken seven months and was 301,223,981 miles long, was marked as complete when the lander signaled back to NASA upon its arrival, complete with a photo. The landing itself saw InSight slow from 12,300 mph to just 5 mph before touching down on the surface.
The photos were captured by the Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) installed within InSight. In the background are plains of the planet’s surface. Catch InSight extending the solar panels it uses for battery in the GIF below.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference afterwards:
Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history. 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.
It's a great feat, as only 40 percent of missions to Mars have been successful. The thin Martian atmosphere is only one percent of that of the Earth’s, which means there’s “nothing to slow something trying to land on the surface.”
As for next steps, prep for the lander’s upcoming two-year mission will begin. InSight’s robotic camera arm will continue to transmit images back to NASA in a bid to help scientists configure where it's best to place its scientific instruments.
Images via NASA.