InSight Deploys Solar Panels On Mars - The Robotic Arm Is Next

NASA's In Sight Shares First Image After Successful Mars Landing

This is because at the heart of the historic landing on Mars is the remarkable work of Ghanaian engineer Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu who is the team lead for InSight at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The network got the first photos and videos of the landing apparatus.

In the coming days, the mission team will unstow InSight's robotic arm and use the attached camera to snap photos of the ground so that engineers can decide where to place the spacecraft's scientific instruments.

Signals indicating that its solar panels had opened and were collecting sunlight on the Martian surface were relayed to Earth by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter (launched in 2001 and now orbiting Mars), which were received at about 7.00 a.m. IST as expected.

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"The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries", said Tom Hoffman, InSight's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

It will take two to three months before instruments are fully deployed and sending back data.

In the meantime, InSight will use its weather sensors and magnetometer to take readings from its landing site at Elysium Planitia - its new home on Mars.

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They were nicknamed EVE and WALL-E, for the robots from the 2008 Pixar film. MarCO-B also beamed back an image of Mars while flying about 6,000 kilometres above the surface of the Mars. "They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as "tag-alongs" on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing". As MarCO-A flew by, it conducted some impromptu radio science, transmitting signals through the edge of Mars' atmosphere. The mission will not look for signs of life on Mars. That atmosphere causes interference to change the signal when it's received on Earth, a way for scientists to detect how much atmosphere is present and even its composition.

Trebi-Ollennu's interest in spacecraft developed when he was growing up in Ghana. "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface".

We now have a attractive new image of Mars. The MarCO team will collect data from each satellite to determine how much fuel they have left and a deeper look at how they performed.

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"Being a part of a mission is a really exciting experience for a scientist", he said.

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