And since InSight will be conducting experiments for a whole Martian year on the Red Planet (which is about two earth years), the probe has a scaled-up solar panel model compared to the one NASA used in the six-month long Phoenix Mars Landermission in 2008.
Applause, laughter, hollering. You'll hear all that today from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mission Control in Pasadena, California if its InSight spacecraft successfully touches down on Mars.
As of this writing, all of the probe's systems are operating as expected.
The spacecraft is meant to be solar-powered once it reaches the surface of Mars.
Utilizing InSight's robotic arm, which has a camera as an attachment, therefore the mission team will be able to capture more photographs in the future.
The deployment of the instruments will take several months. It is noted that this is the first evidence of the presence of liquid water on Mars at the moment.
The mission of the NASA InSight Lander is to investigate and understand Mars' interior, as scientists want to know more about how the planet is constructed.
Minutes later, JPL controllers received a fuzzy "selfie" photograph of the probe's new surroundings on the Red Planet, showing the edge of one lander leg beside a rock.
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Scientists expect to see a dozen to 100 marsquakes during the mission, producing data to help them deduce the depth, density and composition of the planet's core, the rocky mantle surrounding it, and the outermost layer, the crust. All this for a mere $830 million, less than the cost of one of the United States military's almost two dozen B-2 stealth bombers.
"NASA's JPL, which has been a pioneer in Mars exploration for decades, partners with both academia and private industry to bring the best expertise and innovation forward to make important exploration missions like InSight a success". They have a similar solar panel and general spacecraft design, though InSight is created to last more than four times as long as its predecessor. NASA will use radio telescopes in Green Bank, West Virginia and also in Germany to listen out for radio signals from InSight. The landing itself saw InSight slow from 12,300 miles per hour to just 5 miles per hour before touching down on the surface.
Recall, the automatically controlled unmanned InSight was launched on may 5, and November 26, made a successful landing on Mars.
France's CNES made the SEIS instrument, while the German Aerospace Center (DLR) provided a self-hammering mole that can burrow five metres into the surface - farther than any instrument before - to measure heat flow.
It also displays that all of the spacecraft's techniques are functioning. The image shows the landscape of the Elysium Planitia, which is a large plain that's located at the equator of Mars.
Associate Professor Alan Duffy, research fellow at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, said that the successful landing was a colossal achievement. As it approaches the surface a parachute will be deployed which will slow the landing. Dozens of operations and thousands of lines of code were pre-programmed into the machinery and memory of the spacecraft and by all accounts they executed perfectly. Normally, this relaying is done using the already existing spacecraft such as NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or the European Space Agency's Mars Express. They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space.
Right after it landed, Insight sent back a picture.