Chemical Free Body

NASA’s InSight Lands On Mars

NASA’s InSight spacecraft landed Monday on Mars – setting its sights on a new journey – exploring deeper into the planet.

The spacecraft landed just before 3 p.m. E.T. InSight, otherwise known as Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will be the first mission to drill into the interior of Mars, as well as investigate whether there is seismic activity, or “Marsquakes,” on the planet.

PHOTO: In this frame grab taken from NASA TV on Nov. 26, 2018, debris is seen on the lens in the first image from NASAs InSight lander after it touched down on the surface of Mars.
In this frame grab taken from NASA TV on Nov. 26, 2018, debris is seen on the lens in the first image from NASA’s InSight lander after it touched down on the surface of Mars.

“It was tense, you could feel the emotion. It was celebratory with every new information we received,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine on a livestream. He said he received a call from a number that was “all zeros” after the landing.

It turned out to be Vice President Pence.

“He watched the whole thing. He is absolutely ecstatic about our program,” Bridenstine said. “He wants me to say congratulations to everyone here at NASA and all of our international partners.”

Pence chairs the National Space Council and has promoted President Donald Trump’s “Space Force” – the newest branch of the U.S. Military.

PHOTO: This NASA illustration shows a simulated view of NASAs InSight lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars.
This NASA illustration shows a simulated view of NASA’s InSight lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. (JPL-Caltech/NASA via AFP/Getty Images)

NASA engineers and scientists were seen clapping, hugging, and cheering after the landing at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

“Flawless. This is what we hoped and imagined in our minds’ eye. It looked like it was a very successful and perfect landing,” said Rob Manning, JPL’s chief engineer, minutes after the landing.

“The vehicle is nominal. It’s happy. The lander is not complaining. We had a way to tell us if it was unhappy, and it wasn’t,” Manning said, adding, “It’s a normal mode.”

The spacecraft will open its solar panels after it waits roughly four hours for dust to clear. Experts in Pasadena braced for any possible scenario.

PHOTO: An artists concept released by NASA illustrates the InSight spacecraft approaching Mars.
An artist’s concept released by NASA illustrates the InSight spacecraft approaching Mars. (Illustration by NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“We’ve studied Mars from orbit and from the surface since 1965, learning about its weather, atmosphere, geology and surface chemistry,” said Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in a statement. “Now we finally will explore inside Mars and deepen our understanding of our terrestrial neighbor as NASA prepares to send human explorers deeper into the solar system.”

InSight is the first American spacecraft to visit Mars since 2012.

PHOTO: An undated handout illustration made available by NASA shows a simulated view of NASAs InSight lander descending towards the surface of Mars on its parachute.
An undated handout illustration made available by NASA shows a simulated view of NASA’s InSight lander descending towards the surface of Mars on its parachute. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via EPA/Shutterstock)

NASA scientists took nothing for granted, monitoring and adjusting InSight’s path until the final minute.

PHOTO: The NASA Martian lander InSight dedicated to investigating the deep interior of Mars is seen in an undated artists rendering.
The NASA Martian lander InSight dedicated to investigating the deep interior of Mars is seen in an undated artist’s rendering. (NASA via Reuters)

“It’s taken more than a decade to bring InSight from a concept to a spacecraft approaching Mars — and even longer since I was first inspired to try to undertake this kind of mission,” Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator said. “But even after landing, we’ll need to be patient for the science to begin.”

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