Nasa InSight probe lands safely on Mars
New probe set to study the deep interior of the Red Planet
US space agency Nasa has successfully landed a new probe on Mars, following a dramatic seven-minute plunge through the Martian atmosphere.
The InSight probe survived a seven-month journey through space, arriving safely on Mars in order to study seismic activity on the Red Planet, along with monitoring the “wobble” of Mars’ north pole, which will yield information about the planet’s iron-rich core.
“Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. “InSight will study the interior of Mars and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars.”
The BBC reports that InSight has landed on a “a vast, flat plain known as Elysium Planitia, close to the Red Planet’s equator” which Nasa scientists had dubbed the “biggest parking lot on Mars”.
Engineers at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory broke into applause when the probe sent its initial signal back to Earth that it had landed safely and was functioning as intended.
CNBC describes landing on Mars as an “intense undertaking”, as only “about 40 per cent of all missions ever sent to Mars have been successful”.