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NASA's Mars lander has successfully landed on the Red Planet's surface, after an intense beating through the planet's atmosphere. This also adds to the agency's impressive track record of landing spacecraft on Mars.
With the landing, InSight's two-year mission to learn the world's interior by listening to Marsquakes. After six and a half months of traveling in space, InSight finally reached Mars' atmosphere. The spacecraft made a daring landing undergoing a complex multistep routine that slowed the lander from more than 12,000 miles per hour to just 5 miles per hour hitting the surface.
📸 Wish you were here! @NASAInSight sent home its first photo after #MarsLanding:— NASA (@NASA) November 26, 2018
InSight’s view is a flat, smooth expanse called Elysium Planitia, but its workspace is below the surface, where it will study Mars’ deep interior. pic.twitter.com/3EU70jXQJw
Before landing on the surface, InSight had to deploy a supersonic parachute, gather radar measurements, and ignite its thrusters with extreme precision. The landing took around seven minutes to complete, receiving a nickname "seven minutes of terror."
Two spacecraft dubbed MarCO satellites gathered data of the landing of the entire landing. Both satellites are traveling to Mars on their own ever since they took flight. They are also the first CubeSats to ever go into deep space.
Once the landing was completed, the lander sent back initial signal to Earth announcing its arrival. After a few minutes, the spacecraft sent back its very first picture from the Martian surface. The image showed the terrain it made the landing on.
There's a lot of data coming NASA's way. The space agency also has Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter moving circling around the Red Planet. It observed the entire event from space and will send that information to Earth within three hours of the event.
In the coming months, InSight would be uncovering a deeper knowledge of Mars's interior than ever before.