Mars News: InSight has landed

cduggles

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New Mars lander safely touches down. What happens now?



After a 205-day journey through space, NASA?s InSight lander is safely on the surface of Mars. Tasked with peering beneath the Martian surface and mapping the planet?s underworld, InSight touched down just before 3 p.m. ET in a sunny patch of boring landscape inside the equatorial plains of Elysium Planitia.


Anxious teams of scientists and engineers, clustered together at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, knew the spacecraft had survived its wild and tricky descent to the red planet?s surface after receiving data suggesting the lander had touched down safely?followed by an image from InSight itself showing a dusty, alien horizon with a single robot foot.

?This is what we really hoped and imagined in our mind?s eye,? says JPL?s Rob Manning, a systems engineer on the InSight team.

But the spacecraft?s home team isn?t fully celebrating just yet: For its mission to succeed, InSight must also deploy its solar panels, and that confirmation signal won?t arrive for a few more hours.

Assuming it does, the spacecraft will officially be the newest member in an elite fleet of interplanetary robots currently exploring the red planet?including the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which monitored InSight?s descent.
 

swilow

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^I've been very thrilled with this development, have been following it relatively closely. I like how I keep reading the craft's appendage being described as a "steampunk arm". :)

What happens now?

NSFW:
 

invegauser

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on the landing site... "They promised me sandy with no rocks. But there’s one rock, so I might have to talk with them about that.” haha.

very interesting.

those lil cubesats are going to be used to make cell phone calls to earth when we land there one day (same tech in them). great pics of mars from them.
 

CFC

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This is, of course, fantastic news, and I had a countdown timer set on my laptop following it's progression ever since it launched :D

It's always a bit of a mindbender when you realise that the data we're all receiving happened in the past, including whether it had landed successfully or not. It's going to make conversation between Earth and Mars a little tricky when we finally start living there.

Also, and completely irrelevant, but I noticed watching the news that NASA uses Windows 7 ;)
 

Shadowmeister

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How long does it take for radio waves/data to reach Mars? Surely not that long?

I am, as always, incredibly excited about and fascinated by anything involving space exploration/discovery. :) I absolutely can't WAIT for the mission to Europa (Jupiter's moon that has a huge water ocean under the crust and appears to have organic matter in there, and as such is a good candidate for the possibility of life in some form to possibly exist there) to come to fruition.
 

White_Rose

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It depends where the Earth and Mars are in their respective orbits at the time, but I believe the signal delay time at the moment is just under15 minutes. %)

Cool stuff everyone ! If I was young enough I'd definitely volunteer for a Mars Colony position.
 
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