NASA scientists celebrate InSight landing with handshake worthy of the National Basketball Association

NASA's In Sight lander shared its first view from the surface.                  NASA  JPL-Caltech

The landing data and initial photograph were relayed to Earth from two briefcase-sized satellites that were launched along with InSight and were flying past Mars as it reached its destination.

NASAs InSight spacecraft touched down safely on Mars on Monday, kicking off a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet. Over the two years of InSight's primary mission, the experiment will build a picture of how much Mars wobbles as it rotates, using the lander as a fixed point on the planet's surface.

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.

For now, the researchers can toast to the success of sending a 1,500-pound lander on a 300 million-mile journey to a ideal touch down.

The live stream is set to begin at 2:00 p.m. EST. On a clear day, the probe gets about 600 to 700 watts from the panels, and even when dust settles on the panels - which could be a common occurrence on Mars - they can provide up to 200 to 300 watts of power for the probe.

Confirmation of a successful touchdown is not the end of the challenges of landing on the Red Planet.

To stick the landing, the InSight lander will have to decrease its speed from roughly 12,300 miles per hour to zero in about six minutes.

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Soon, the mission team will unfurl InSight's robotic arm and use the attached camera to snap photos of the ground for scientists to determine where to place the spacecraft's instruments, NASA said. NASA's Odyssey probe, orbiting Mars, will be used later today to check that's the case.

"After a ride like that, everything here is so.peaceful". "I think the future is very bright". During the entry, descent and landing phase, the probe was tracked for the first time with a pair of small satellites the size of briefcases created to send data signals back to Earth more quickly. Built primarily by Lockheed Martin Space, InSight cost the USA $813.8 million and France and Germany also pitched in $180 million for the lander's investigations. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our global partners, and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team.

A number of European partners, including France's Centre National d' Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), have supported the InSight mission. "The enthusiasm here is incredible", Bridenstine said.

The basic design of InSight was inherited from Phoenix spacecraft, which landed on Mars on May 25, 2008, he added. No lander has dug deeper on Mars than several inches, and no seismometer has ever worked on the planet.

The landing site was Elysium Planitia, a flat plain.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, presiding over his first Mars landing as the space agency's boss, said: "What an unbelievable day for our country".

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