NASA InSight Mars Lander Celebrates First Anniversary

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Space explorations have been making progress for time immemorial. In the latest such celebratory success is the NASA InSight Mars lander, which has just completed one full Earth year exploring Mars. A year ago, on November 26, the lander successfully entered, descended, and landed on Mars. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California is celebrating the event.

NASA InSight Mars Lander Celebrates First Anniversary

 

NASA InSight Mars Lander

The InSight Mars lander has been a helping hand in sending back massive information about the Martian landscape to researchers on Earth. The lander is equipped with a highly sensitive seismometer suite and it has helped in detecting more than 150 vibration events, along with two dozen Marsquakes over the past year.

The Mars lander is also packed with the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), which is one of the main scientific instruments on the lander. It is a heat probe packed with tough sledding. The HP3 is popularly dubbed as the 'mole' and comes with a self-hammering tool. It is capable of digging up to three-to-five meters. However, it has dug up only 0.3 meters to date.

The desired results haven't been produced mainly because the 'mole' unexpectedly popped out of the burrow. And this might have happened because we still don't have complete knowledge about Mars' soil. The latest update says that the InSight team members back on Earth are working on the issue and there has been some progress recently.

 

NASA InSight Mars Lander Celebrated With Curiosity Rover

The InSight Mars lander is solar-powered and is scheduled to continue exploring the Red Planet for another year. Space enthusiasts should note that the InSight Mars lander isn't the only one that completed a year exploring the planet. NASA's Curiosity rover was launched back in 2011 in November and is also celebrating its expedition.

NASA InSight Mars Lander Celebrates First Anniversary

In contrast, the Curiosity rover is nuclear-powered and has determined some of the key Martian craters including the 154km Gale Crater (which is believed to have supported Earth-life life forms in the ancient past). The Curiosity rover is still going strong and climbing slopes that are 5.5km high and more. Together with the InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) lander, scientists are gaining a better understanding of Earth's neighbor.

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