Sunday, 27 Sep 2020

NASA’s InSight phones home, beams back 1st photos from Mars surface

NASA’s InSight “phoned home” after successfully landing on Mars, beaming back photos from the surface of the planet.

NASA’s probe sent back two photos of its new home after it made a successful touchdown at around 3 p.m. ET on Monday.

“My first picture on #Mars,” the space agency tweeted. “My lens cover isn’t off yet, but I just had to show you a first look at my new home.”

It was NASA’s eighth successful landing on Mars since the 1976 Viking probes, and the first in six years. NASA’s Curiosity rover, which arrived in 2012, is still on the move on Mars.

A few hours after landing, the craft beamed back a second photo, clearly showing the surface of the red planet.

“There’s a quiet beauty here. Looking forward to exploring my new home,” NASA said.

InSight, a $1-billion international project, includes a German mechanical mole that will burrow down five metres to measure Mars’ internal heat. The lander also has a French seismometer for measuring quakes, if they exist on our smaller, geologically calmer neighbour. Another experiment will calculate Mars’ wobble to reveal the makeup of the planet’s core.

Rock band Green Day revealed a connection to NASA and the Mars project, saying “Green Day since 1986” was etched on a chip installed in the lander.

“Officially landed on Mars” the band tweeted.

— with a file from the Associated Press

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