NASA’s InSight Spacecraft Successfully Lands on Mars, Sends Back a Selfie

InSight takes a 'selfie' on the surface of Mars using a camera on its robotic arm (Pic: NASA)
InSight takes a ‘selfie’ on the surface of Mars using a camera on its robotic arm (Pic: NASA)

NASA’s InSight rover has sent back a “selfie” of itself after successfully landing on the surface of Mars.

The spacecraft took the snap of the Red planet using a camera fixed on its robotic arm.

The rocky surface of Mars can be clearly seen with the Insight rover in the foreground.

It had touched down after seven months and more than 300 million miles and at a cost of a billion dollars.

InSight had a six-minute window in which to decelerate from just under 13,000mph to 5mph – landing entirely based on autonomous and pre-programmed systems.

It withstood temperatures up to 1,500C (2,700F) – hot enough to melt steel – before deploying its parachute and 12 retro-rockets to gently touch down in an area known as Elysium Planitia.

InSight will need to wait for the dust from landing to settle before it can really get on with business.

The craft’s solar array motors will warm up and prepare to unfurl the solar panels – an important activity that ensures the lander, which is completely solar-powered, has all the power it needs.

The first picture from InSight, taken with a fish-eye lens and through a dust cover, shows the planet’s horizon, which NASA said suggests the landing was a success.

Congratulations flooded into the space agency following the success, including from Mike Pence, the US vice president, who celebrated the “incredible milestone” of the country’s eighth successful landing on Mars.

An exuberant handshake by mission control staff was caught on camera and has gone viral on social media.

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SOURCE: Sky News