NASA InSight mission successfully lands on Mars

The In Sight spacecraft approaches Mars in this artist’s concept. Image Credit NASA  JPL-Caltech

To celebrate the successful landing of the InSight spacecraft on the red planet, Blackbird Interactive (now in charge of Homeworld) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have released to the public a version of their Project Eagle Mars base software.

Nasa is the only space agency to have made it, and is invested in these robotic missions as a way to prepare for the first Mars-bound human explorers in the 2030s. The second phase will be characterized mainly by deploying and configuring special tools of research Rover and their subsequent use in the process of drilling and analysis of rocks.

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Because Mars is further away from the sun than Earth, it gets weaker sunlight, so it's crucial that InSight's solar panels generate as much energy as possible. That is the objective of the new space Rover, which should also reveal many interesting points. The lander slowed as it should and appears to have landed correctly.

The deployment of the instruments will take several months. Creating a 3D model of the surface will help engineers understand where to place instruments and hammer in the probe, called the Mars mole HP3 by those who built it. It will also slam a self-hammering heat flow probe about 16 feet into the Martian surface to take the planet's temperature. For this, InSight had to autonomously deploy a supersonic parachute, gather its radar measurements, and ignite its thrusters - all within seven minutes of reaching the Martian atmosphere. This in turn will be incorporated into humanity's more general knowledge of how rocky worlds form, from Earth and the Moon to exoplanets such as those in the Trappist-1 system.

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One celebration, in particular, caught the attention of the internet when two engineers were seen breaking out a wild handshake in the midst of the brouhaha.

InSight's first photo of Mars shows dust speckled on the transparent dust cover that was over the camera. On clear days, the panels will provide InSight with between 600 and 700 watts - enough to power the blender on your kitchen counter, NASA said.

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Shortly after its landing, the InSight Lander sent a picture back to NASA.

NASA made history when it landed a spacecraft on Mars on Monday, and a certain rock band from Northern California was along for the ride - in a way. The seismic data collected by InSight will also be used to figure how Mars was formed, and reveal much about its internal structure, which geologists know very little about. Even after completing 99.8 percent of its journey, Mars is still only three pixels across to the two CubeSats. After successfully carrying out a number of communications and in-flight navigation experiments, the twin MarCOs were set in position to receive transmissions during InSight's entry, descent, and landing.

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