How to Watch Live As NASA Lands on Mars Today

The first image from NASA's In Sight was returned to Earth almost immediately

NASA's InSight lander opens a window into the "inner space" of Mars. Insight, NASA's probe finally reached the Red Planet and it sent back some snapshots home. It turns out that "Green Day Since 1986" was etched on a chip that was part of the lander.

Professor Pike said: "Studying Mars lets us travel to the solar system's ancient past".

Only 40% of missions to the planet have succeeded and all have been US-led.

Speeding faster than a bullet at 19,800km/h, the heat-shielded spacecraft encountered scorching friction as it entered the Mars atmosphere.

InSight's pressure sensor will monitor atmospheric conditions and detect dust devils - whirling blasts of wind on the planet's surface - from much farther away than in previous missions.

Next up is NASA's Mars 2020 rover, which is modeled on Curiosity and planned to launch in summer 2021 for a February 2021 landing.

The suite of geophysical instruments will take measurements of Mars' internal activity like seismology and the wobble as the sun and its moons tug on the planet.

Once the dust settles this is what In Sight will look like when it starts performing science experiments
Once the dust settles this is what In Sight will look like when it starts performing science experiments

InSight has relayed its first transmissions and images back to Earth and has begun the initial operations of its two-year mission.

How will NASA know when InSight lands safely?

Using InSight's robotic arm, which has a camera attached, the mission team will be able to take more photographs in the coming days, Nasa has said.

The first mission to study the deep interior of Mars will generate unprecedented data about its inner structure.

An artist's conception of the InSight lander on the surface of Mars with its seismometer (left) and heat probe (right) deployed. NASA says we should expect data back from the experiments around March 2019.

While Earth's tectonics and other forces have erased most evidence of its early history, much of Mars - about one-third the size of Earth - has seemingly remained largely static, creating a geological time machine for scientists, Green said. The InSight Mars Lander, which was designed, built and tested by Lockheed Martin, navigated the dramatic entry and descent through the Martian atmosphere and touched down on Elysium Planitia in the equatorial region of Mars. Normally, this relaying is done using the already existing spacecraft such as NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter or the European Space Agency's Mars Express.

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