NASA's Mars Acquisition Sends First Image of Red Planet | Science


This is the view through the Elysium Planitia, the vast lava plain near the equator of Mars, where NASA's InSight landing module landed after a fall on Monday. The probe took the image out of the desolate landscape while the dust raised by its arrival was still settling around it.

In the next few days, InSight will take more pictures of the landing site and send them back to Earth, where scientists will use them to decide where the spacecraft should place its instruments.

The seismograph of the probe will be an ear on the floor that hears "marsquakes", which quiver across the planet when underground rock plates break and slide. Another instrument will bury itself in the soil and take the temperature of the red planet.

Joy as NASA probe plays Mars – video

Hours after InSight landed, the probe called home to report that its solar panels had been opened and were collecting what the weak sunlight hits the planet. On a clear day, the panels generate 700 W, enough to power a kitchen blender, and the entire lander needs to operate.

Taken with a transparent dust cover still in place for the camera lens, the image was taken from the surface of Mars to the Nasa spacecraft, Odyssey, and from there sent the 91m (146m) to Earth.


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