NASA has successfully landed its InSight lander on Mars.
The craft had a ‘perfect’ landing following its journey to the red planet and is reported to be ‘working perfectly’.
Landing on Mars is notoriously troublesome, with 10 out of 17 previous missions failing. So, engineers from the space agency were twitchy sending off InSight and its satellites, particularly when it hit Mars’ atmosphere and was faced with ‘seven minutes of terror’
NASA’s science chief, Thomas Zurbuchen said previously: “As humanity, as explorers – we’re batting at less than 50 percent. Going to Mars is really, really hard.”
But that doesn’t seem to have been the case here, and touchdown was confirmed at 19.50GMT causing NASA’s mission control to burst into celebration.
The first image has already been beamed down Earth by the lander.
InSight is set to be the first probe sent to investigate the interior of Mars. Now that scientist have a pretty solid idea of what’s happening on top of the planet, attention has turned to inside and this probe will help give NASA the chance to explore how the planet is made up, from the core outwards.
Acting director of NASA’s planetary science division Lori Glaze, said: “Once InSight is settled on the red planet and its instruments are deployed, it will start collecting valuable information about the structure of Mars’s deep interior – information that will help us understand the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including the one we call home.”
Scientists hope that this information can help us have a better understanding of how planets are formed – including our own.
Or, as Bruce Banerdt, InSight chief scientist said: “The small details in how planets evolve are what we think make the difference between a place like Earth where you can go on vacation and get a tan, and a place like Venus where you’ll burn in seconds or a place like Mars where you’ll freeze to death.”