Nasa’s InSight takes selfie on Mars after dramatic 7 minute plunge

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But as expected, the dust kicked up during the landing obscured the first picture InSight sent back, which was heavily flecked. This image was taken at about 12:10 p.m. PST (3:10 p.m. EST) while MarCO-B was flying away from the planet after InSight landed.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory says that although will be several weeks before the InSight mission starts delivering data from deep inside Mars, marks a scientific milestone, according to Bruce Banerdt, a scientist at nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who studies the evolution of Mars.

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

The spacecraft arrived at Mars after a perilous, supersonic plunge through its red skies that took just six minutes. The landing itself saw InSight slow from 12,300 miles per hour to just 5 miles per hour before touching down on the surface. They heard when the parachute opened, the radar locked on, and plunged to 600 meters above the surface, then 300 meters - then silence.

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Spain's Centro de Astrobiologia made the spacecraft's wind sensors, and three of InSight's seismic instruments were designed and built in Britain.

"This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints - we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, worlds beyond". One celebration by two engineers, ID'd as Brooke and Gene, celebrated in a manner that was worthy of National Football League players after a touchdown.

That was no easy feat with InSight's landing.

Earth's success rate at Mars is 40 percent, counting every attempted flyby, orbital flight and landing by the US, Russia and other countries dating back to 1960. But, by watching landings with the MarCOs, engineers could make improvements to improve this statistic. "These differences among the planets we think are due to very subtle changes, very subtle differences in the way they formed early on, and we want to be able to understand those processes".

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Still, there are no life detectors aboard InSight.

More than half of 43 attempts to reach Mars with rovers, orbiters and probes by space agencies from around the world have failed.

Because it's been so long since NASA's last Martian landfall - the Curiosity rover in 2012 - Mars mania is gripping not only the space and science communities, but everyday folks. It will use a robotic arm, and a drill, to collect rocks and soil samples from Jezero Crater just north of the Martian equator, and if it finds anything interesting, it will leave it in a box for a possible future "sample return" mission, possibly by humans.

The band sent a tweet out yesterday (November 27th 2018) to let everyone know that they have "Officially landed on Mars", which is true... kind of.

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