Nasa's InSight robot lands on Mars to study planet's deep interior
The US space agency Nasa has landed a new robot on Mars after a dramatic seven-minute plunge and landed, the first robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of a distant world, touched down safely on the surface of Mars.
The InSight probe aims to study the world's deep interior, and make it the only planet - apart from Earth - that has been examined in this way.
Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles burst into cheers, applause and hugs as they received signals confirming InSight’s arrival on Martian soil - a vast, barren plain near the planet’s equator - shortly before 3 p.m. EST.
The first picture of this landscape came back very quickly. It showed a smudged, fisheye view of the robot's surroundings.The image was taken through the translucent lens cap of a camera positioned on the underside of the lander. The dust kicked up in the descent obscured much of the scene, but it was still possible to make out a small rock, one of the probe's feet and the sky on the horizon.
InSight’s descent and landing, consisting of about 1,000 individual steps that had to be flawlessly executed to achieve success, capped a six-month journey of 548 million km from Earth.
The spacecraft was launched from California in May on its nearly $1 billion mission. It will spend the next 24 months that is about one Martian year and collecting a wealth of data to unlock mysteries about how Mars formed and, by extension, the origins of the Earth and other rocky planets of the inner solar system.