Touchdown confirmed! NASA successfully landed its spacecraft on Mars and plans to explore the alien world for the next two years.
Flight controllers announced that the InSight spacecraft had landed just before 7 am after a dangerous supersonic descent into the red skies of Mars.
Tweeting soon after landing InSight offered the following mysterious words from the alien world: "I feel you, Mars … and soon I will know your heart. With this safe landing, I'm here. I'm at home."
InSight also shared the first photo of Mars on Twitter saying, "My lens cap is not turned off yet, but I just had to show you my first house."
Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., Jumped out of their seats and exploded in shouting, applause, and laughter when the news arrived.
"Touchdown confirmed!", Announced a flight controller.
There was no immediate word on whether the probe was in good working order.
It is the first spacecraft built to explore the deep interior of another world, carrying instruments to detect planetary heat and seismic rumors that have never been measured anywhere else on Earth.
After waiting with the expectation that they would arrive from space, the people hugged each other, shook hands, exchanged greetings, clenched fists, wiped their tears and danced in the hallways.
"Impeccable," said Rob Manning, JPL's chief engineer. "This is what we really expected and imagined in our mind," he said. "Sometimes things work in your favor."
A pair of mini satellites to the right of InSight since the May launch provided virtually real-time updates of the spacecraft's descent.
The satellite also took a snapshot of the surface of Mars, the same one that was shared on Twitter.
The image was marked by dirt particles on the camera cover. But the quick glance in the view showed a flat surface with few or no rock – exactly what the scientists expected. Much better images will arrive in the hours and days ahead.
"What a relief," Manning told the AP. "That's really fantastic." He added, "Wow! That never gets old.
After traveling millions of miles on a six-month journey through deep space, the InSight robotic probe landed on the dusty, rocky surface.
The three-legged spacecraft, catapulted through an $ 1 billion international venture, was designed to excavate the surface of the red planet after the journey.
The spacecraft reached the surface after being decelerated by a parachute and brake motors, confirmed Nasa.
Updates were coming via radio signals that take more than eight minutes to cross the nearly 160 million miles between Mars and Earth.
It was NASA's ninth attempt to land on Mars since the 1976 Viking spacecraft. All but one of the previous US touchdowns were successful.
NASA finally landed on Mars in 2012 with the Curiosity rover.
19.800KPH FOR ZERO IN SIX MINUTES
The plan envisaged that the spacecraft would move from 19,800 km / h to zero in six minutes while drilling the Martian atmosphere and resting on the surface.
"Landing on Mars is one of the most difficult jobs people have to do on planetary exploration," said Bruce Banerdt, chief scientist at InSight.
"It's such a difficult thing, it's such a dangerous thing that there's always a big chance something can go wrong."
Mars has been the graveyard for a multitude of space missions. So far, the success rate on the red planet has been only 40%, counting all attempts at flight and orbital landing from the US, Russia and other countries since 1960.
The US, however, has achieved seven successful Mars landings over the last four decades, not counting InSight, with only one failed landing. No other country has been able to assemble and operate a spaceship on the dusty red surface.
InSight was shooting at the Elysium Planitia, a plain near the Martian equator that the InSight team hopes to be flat as a parking lot in Kansas with few rocks, if any. First images appear to confirm that this has been achieved.
What insight will do
No Lander dug deeper into Mars than several centimeters, and no seismograph ever worked on the planet.
The 360 kg stationary probe will use its 1.8 meter robotic arm to place a mechanical pint and a seismograph on the ground. The self-hammered mole will dig five meters to measure the planet's internal heat, while the seismograph will hear possible earthquakes.
Germany is responsible for the InSight mole, while France is responsible for the seismograph.
Examining the interior of Mars, scientists are hoping to understand how the rocky planets of our solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago and why they appeared so different – cold and dry Mars, ardent Venus and Mercury, and the Hospitaller Earth.
InSight has no ability to detect life, however. This will be left to future robots, such as NASA's Mars 2020 mission, which will collect rocks that will eventually be brought back to Earth and analyzed for evidence of ancient life.
Earlier, project manager Tim Hoffin said that the success of the InSight landing will not be entirely clear for several hours.
"We will definitely have a celebration when we can land successfully, but we will have to moderate it a little bit while we wait about five and a half hours to know for sure that we are in good shape. ," he said.
InSight will spend 24 months, about a year Martian, examining Mars.
Although Earth's tectonics and other forces have erased most of the evidence from its early history, it is believed that much of Mars has remained largely static, creating a geological time machine for scientists.