These twin Cubesats are the first of their kind to ever travel to another planet, and are already, successfully relaying important data to Earth, connecting us to Mars like never before. Since landing, it has taken two photos and sent them back as postcards to Earth, showing off its new home. The space agency has revealed in its latest update that the probe has also successfully deployed its solar panels - needed to power the lander - on the Red Planet.
The InSight probe landed in the highlands area Elysium, which is located on the equator of Mars, on Monday evening, November 26, Moscow time.More news: Chinese Scientist Addresses Controversial Gene-Edited Births
Banfield, principal research scientist at Cornell and a co-investigator on InSight's science team, waited patiently at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, listening to mission control with other scientists. On Board there is a seismograph and geophysical thermometer. The solar panels that provide the lander energy for all of its communications equipment and scientific instruments produce 600 to 700 watts on a clear day, less than what a microwave oven uses.
The robot will not be spending the duration of its mission snapping landscape pics and selfies, however, but will instead conduct a core-to-crust investigation of the Red Planet's deep interior - the only planet apart from Earth that mankind will have studied in this way. Its probe to measure heat flow five meters below Mars' surface was made in Germany and Poland, its weather station in Spain and its laser reflector, which will be used for precision longitude, latitude and altitude measurements, in Italy. In fact, these satellites transmitted InSight's first look at its surroundings nearly immediately after the probe safely landed. This image was taken at about 12:10 p.m. PST (3:10 p.m. EST) while MarCO-B was flying away from the planet after InSight landed. "The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon". "But I do think it's a great thing for humankind to go to Mars and we should definitely do it", Wilson said. "It's given them valuable experience on every facet of building, testing and operating a spacecraft in deep space". Before InSight, only about 40 percent of martian landings were successful, according to a statement. "We have reawakened NASA, and that's a good thing". We are just about due north of Curiosity, which actually makes it a little bit of a traffic jam on Mars in the sense that the data that we bring back from the surface of Mars is relayed through basically telecommunication orbiters.
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.