NASA's InSight lander is not shy about cameras. The spaceship
He used a camera on his robotic arm to take his first selfie: a mosaic formed by
11 images This is the same image process used by NASA's Curiosity rover
Mission, in which many superimposed images are taken and then sewn.
together. Visible in the selfie are the solar panel of the lander and its entirety
cover, including their science instruments.
Team members of the mission have also received their first full.
look at the "workspace" of InSight: approximately 14 by 7 feet (4 by 2 meters)
Half moon of terrain directly in front of the spacecraft. This image is also a
Mosaic composed of 52 individual photos.
In the coming weeks, scientists and engineers will go
through the painstaking process of deciding where in this workspace the
The instruments of the spacecraft must be placed. Then they will send InSight robotics
arm to carefully set up the seismometer (called the Seismic Experiment for
Interior Structure, or SIX)
and the heat flow probe (known as the package of physical properties and heat flow, or
In the chosen places. Both work better on level ground, and engineers want
Avoid placing them on rocks over half an inch (1.3 cm).
"The almost absence of rocks, hills and pits means
It will be extremely safe for our instruments, "said the director of InSight
The researcher Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
California. "This might seem like a piece of fairly simple land if it were not
on Mars, but we're happy to see that. "
The InSight landing gear deliberately chose a landing region
in Elysium Planitia that is relatively free of rocks. Even so, the landing place
It turned out even better than they expected. The spacecraft sits on what it looks like
be a "hole" almost free of rocks: a depression created by a meteor
Impact that is then filled with sand. That should make it easier for one of
The InSight instruments, the heat flux probe, are reduced to their 16-foot target
(5 meters) below the surface.
JPL manages InSight for NASA
Direction of Scientific Missions. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery program,
administered by the Marshall Space Flight Center of the agency in Huntsville, Alabama.
Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its
Cruise stage and lander, and support the operations of the spacecraft for the mission.
A number of European partners,
including the National Center for Space Studies of France (CNES) and the German
The Aerospace Center (DLR) is supporting the InSight mission. CNES and the Institute
The Paris World Physicist (IPGP) provided the Seismic Experiment for
Interior Structure Instrument (SEIS), with important contributions from the
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss
Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, Imperial College London and
University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the heat flow
and physical properties package (HP3) instrument, with significant
contributions of the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of
Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Astrobiology Center (CAB) of Spain
It supplies the wind sensors.
News Media contact
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.