Right after it landed, Insight sent back a picture. Better photos are expected in the days ahead, after the dust covers come off. Eastern Time, successfully completing a six-and-a-half month journey of more than 480 million kilometers. Beginning in 1976 with Viking missions, Lockheed Martin has been at the forefront in the development of eleven Mars-bound spacecraft and has played a significant role in all NASA missions to Mars.
It will spend the next 24 months - about one Martian year - collecting a wealth of data to unlock mysteries about how Mars formed and, by extension, the origins of the Earth and other rocky planets of the inner solar system.
The company, which was started over 50 years ago by engineers from Boeing and the Jet Propulsion Lab, built the engines and thrusters that sent InSight to Mars.
Though it will be weeks before InSight returns its first measurements of the Martian depths, Monday's landing marks a scientific transformation, observes Marina Koren in The Atlantic: "Geology-the most earthly of all sciences-is about to become interplanetary". NASA's next mission, the Mars 2020 rover, will prowl for rocks that might contain evidence of ancient life. Such studies will be conducted for the first time in history.
Nasa is the only space agency to have made it, and is invested in these robotic missions as a way to prepare for the first Mars-bound human explorers in the 2030s.
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NASA scientists' quirky victory handshake upon making a successful landing on Mars has gone viral as people across the world have shared their unbridled joy. Just north of its equator, it's also a great place for InSight's solar panels to generate power for long periods. InSight will be able to measure quakes that happen anywhere on the planet.
The heat shield soared to a temperature of about 1,500 Celsius before it was discarded, the three landing legs deployed and the parachute popped out, easing InSight down to the Martian surface.
A Marsquake detector designed in part by Imperial engineers is set to help reveal Mars' inner structure.
Apollo missions to the moon brought seismometers to the lunar surface as well. NASA says we should expect data back from the experiments around March 2019. And today we really don't know if the core of Mars is liquid or solid, and how big that core is.
The image was obtained a few minutes after landing InSight on Mars.