Curiosity

See The First Clear Image From NASA’s New Mars Lander

Wow, this is so cool! And to think it took over six months for the robot to journey from Earth to Mars!

Capturing the perfect picture, especially from a distance, isn’t an easy thing. You have to make sure everything is in focus, the subject looks good and conditions are just right.

Now, imagine trying to get that ideal shot from 300 million miles away! Well, that’s exactly what NASA scientists were celebrating on Nov. 27, when its latest Mars lander, InSight, sent back a stunning image from the red planet that gave us a crystal-clear glimpse into another world.

The InSight mission posted the photo for all to see with the caption, “There’s quiet beauty here.” Wow, there sure is! Check it out:

This shot was shared through NASA InSight’s official Twitter account — because of course, it has one! Anyone who wants to keep up to date with the robot’s adventures can follow the photos, updates from scientist and other related news about the data the lander is gathering on Mars.

The photo comes a day after the excitement of Insight’s landing. On Nov. 26, NASA employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, waited anxiously as the robot plummeted through the hot atmosphere of Mars for six minutes with no communication on its status. The scientists erupted in celebration once InSight confirmed that it landed safely on Mars at 11:54 a.m. Pacific time.

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NASA’s Insight robot launched back in May for its six-month journey to Mars. It is the first robot to land there since the Curiosity arrived back in 2012. InSight, though, will not be rolling around the planet surface for its mission. The goal for InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is to study below Mars’ surface. The cameras and instruments on board the robot will explore the planet’s crust, mantle and core. Data from photos and samples will then be sent back to the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

During the two-year mission, scientists hope the data collected from InSight will help answer questions about “the formation and early evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth,” according to NASA.

NASA scientists also shared the first photo taken from InSight, which was of Mars’ surface. It’s not as clear as the landscape shot InSight later captured, but it gives us a better idea of what the planet’s surface looks like up close:

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And how is the lander sending these photos? After such a long journey, InSight needed to recharge its batteries. The mission posted a video showing how the lander’s solar panels extend out to capture the sun’s energy:

Very cool! We’re excited to follow the mission and see more photos from Mars!