See the first photo of Mars from the new InSight mission


It will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until November 24, 2020.

InSight has already been busy. These initial images are grainy because the dust shields haven't been removed from the camera lenses yet. "With the arrays providing the energy, we need to start the cool science operations".

We now have a attractive new image of Mars. One of its first tasks is to deploy its two decagonal solar arrays, which will provide power. Even if a spacecraft doesn't survive landing, having a "black box" - or a pair of them, as with MarCO - to record the event can help engineers design better landing technology.

King said he thinks it'll be about three months before he sees any of InSight's data.

The suite of geophysical instruments will take measurements of Mars' internal activity like seismology and the wobble as the sun and its moons tug on the planet.

InSight is all equipped with 3 instruments that include, a seismometer to measure earthquakes on Mars, Dusto storms and meteorite impact, a heat flow probe to study the amount of heat flowing out from the interior of the planet and an antenna pair to measure the wobble in the North Pole of Mars. And it's capable of hammering a probe into the surface. Odyssey has also relayed a pair of images showing InSight's landing site.

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Neither of the MarCO CubeSats carry science instruments, but that didn't stop the team from testing whether future CubeSats could perform useful science at Mars.

These solar panels are created to provide 600-700 watts on a clear day which is just enough to sustain the tools that will be used to study the inner workings on Mars.

Mars' atmosphere is only 1 percent of the Earth's, which makes landings on the planet especially tricky.

The first science data isn't expected until March, but InSight will be sharing snapshots of Mars along the way. It will expand the understanding of rocky planets in general.

He's looking forward to unearthing more secrets from the universe.

These experimental, briefcase-sized spacecraft were launched along with NASA's InSight lander in May and became the first small satellites to travel into deep space. The mission's engineers, including a team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, were able to stay in contact with the vessel thanks to two cube satellites that were tested and prepped by Cal Poly engineers and students just before launch. In the meantime, it took some incredible images of the Martian surface and sent them back to Earth. The mission will not look for signs of life on Mars. "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface".