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Weather forecasts from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed that the outlook was sunny with a low chance of dust storms, so engineers skipped their last chance to tweak InSight's landing procedure Monday morning.

"We hit the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph (19,800 kilometers per hour), and the whole sequence to touching down on the surface took only six-and-a-half minutes", InSight project manager Tom Hoffman at JPL said.

The two satellites not only transmitted the good news in nearly real time, they also sent back InSight's first snapshot of Mars just 4 minutes after landing.

United States eastern time. When confirmation of the landing came through, mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab erupted in applause and cheers.

The twin "Cubesats" tagging along for the flight to Mars represented the first deep-space use of a miniature satellite technology that space engineers see as a promising low-priced alternative to some larger, more complex vehicles.

"I can't say how satisfying it is to be within a stone's throw of getting that information about Mars", said JPL geophysicist Suzanne Smrekar, the deputy principal investigator for the mission.

NASA streamed the landing of their Mars InSight probe Monday, November 26 live on Twitch, and xQc made a decision to watch the stream along with his viewers.

Settling In InSight's first few days on the Red Planet won't be as eventful as the probe's nerve-wracking descent and landing.

Members of the mission control team burst into applause and cheered in relief as they received data showing that the spacecraft had survived its perilous descent to the Martian surface.

The U.S., however, has pulled off seven successful Mars landings in the past four decades, not counting InSight, with only one failed touchdown.

But the engineers prepared the spacecraft to land during a dust storm if need be.




InSight will spend 24 months, about one Martian year, examining Mars. In fact, it will be two to three months before InSight's robotic arm even sets its instruments on the martian surface, according to NASA.

What is NASA's Mars InSight lander?

American space agency Nasa's 814 million dollar (£633 million) two-year mission aims to shine new light on how the Red Planet was formed and its deep structure, by mapping its core, crust and mantle.

InSight robotically guided itself through the landing. The instrument will measure how much heat escapes from Mars' interior, which will reveal the amount of heat-producing radioactive elements it contains and how geologically active the planet is today.

A second instrument will burrow five metres into the ground of Mars, measuring the planet's temperature, while a third experiment will determine how Mars wobbles on its axis.

"Landing on Mars is one of the hardest single jobs that people have to do in planetary exploration", InSight's lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, said before Monday's success.

InSight's two-year science mission won't begin right away.

The first picture taken by InSight during landing.

The lander safely touched down on its dusty landing site of Elysium Planitia, near the Red Planet's equator, a region scientists refer to as "vanilla"-not because it is boring per se but because it is flat and free of rocky obstacles that could damage the lander".

The question of whether life ever existed in Mars' wet, watery past is what keeps driving NASA back to the fourth rock from the sun.


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