Space Photos of the Week: X-Rays, Binary Stars, and Mars Moles. After touching down on the Martian surface, InSight laid research instruments on the ground, including the HP3 instrument, also known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, to begin drilling.
Although Dawn is done, it will remain in a stable orbit around Ceres for the next 50 years or so to protect the surface from any potential contaminants left on the spacecraft from Earth.InSight landed on the dusty, rocky surface of Mars on November 26, and moments after touching down, it took this photo of the ground.
As the final hours ticked by before InSight breached Mars’s atmosphere and headed to the surface, there was not much to do except wait, and worry.Engineers had sent the landing sequence commands to the spacecraft days ago, where they now sat onboard like little bombs, waiting for the proper time to execute themselves.
NASA Lands Its InSight SpacecraftNASA/JPL-CaltechAfter a six-month journey across hundreds of millions of miles of deep space, NASA's InSight spacecraft—a mission nearly ten years and close to $1 billion in the making—landed successfully on the surface of Mars on Monday, touching down on the planet's surface just a few minutes before 12:00 pm PT.In the final moments of the spacecraft’s descent, the mission control room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was silent as updates on InSight's status blared over the PA system: "Altitude 300 meters… 200 meters… 80 meters… 60 meters … 50 meters, constant velocity 37 meters… 30 meters … 20 meters… 17 meters… standing by for touchdown… Touchdown confirmed!
How and Where to Watch NASA's InSight Finally Land on MarsNASA/JPL-CaltechOn Monday, November 26th, following a six-month journey across hundreds of millions of miles of deep space, NASA's InSight spacecraft will arrive at Mars in suitably dramatic fashion, hitting the top of the planet's atmosphere at 12,300 miles per hour—several times faster than a speeding bullet—shortly before 12:00 pm PST (3:00 pm EST).If all goes as planned, it will take InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) just seven minutes to decelerate completely and alight on Mars' surface.
On Monday, November 26th, it will attempt its eighth, when it endeavors to land the $830-million InSight spacecraft on Elysium Planitia, a vast plain just north of the Martian equator.If NASA is successful, InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) will be the first mission to investigate Mars' deep interior with thermal probes and seismometry, an approach scientists think will address questions about the red planet's formation and composition.