NEW YORK (Nov 26, 2018): NASA just landed in Mars! All went well according to plan. InSight streaked into the pink Martian sky at 12,000 miles per hour (19,310 kilometers per hour). Its 77-mile descent to the surface was slowed by atmospheric friction, a giant parachute and retro rockets. As it landed 6-1/2 minutes later, it traveled a mere 5 mph (8 kph).
Insight becomes NASA’s first robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of a distant world, and unlike a rover, will stick to one place.
InSight’s new home is “Elysium Planitia, a still, flat region where it’s set to study seismic waves and heat deep below the surface.”
Here’s what NASA InSight which landed on Mars today looks like.
After a six-month voyage through space traveling 301 million miles (548 million km) from Earth, the Mars InSight spacecraft landed at its destination on the dusty, rock-strewn surface of the Red Planet at about 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT).
“We don’t know everything that is to know about Mars yet” said Bruce Banerdt, the guy in charge of NASA’s InSight. “I’m pretty excited, pretty nervous”, he said before the landing, as the Principal Investigator behind NASA’s InSight mission.
The landing site is roughly 373 miles (600 km) from the 2012 landing spot of the car-sized Mars rover Curiosity, the last spacecraft sent to the Red Planet by NASA.
There’s only one person in the world who has selected landing sites on Mars: Matt Golombek.
InSight is fitted with a highly sensitive French-built seismometer and a German-made drill to burrow as much as 16 feet (5 meters) underground.
Meanwhile, a radio transmitter will send signals back to Earth, tracking Mars’ subtle rotational wobble to reveal the size of the planet’s core and possibly whether it remains molten.
Here’s how NASA’s deep space network works: