NASA’s InSight on Thursday deployed its first instrument onto the surface of Mars, completing a major mission milestone that will allow scientists to peer into the Martian interior by studying ground motion – also known as marsquakes.
In a statement, NASA said, “New images from the lander show the seismometer on the ground, its copper-coloured covering faintly illuminated in the Martian dusk.” “Not enough time has elapsed for scientists to deduce what they want to know – scientists estimate they might have some results starting in about a year,” it added.
InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman said, “InSight’s timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped.” “Getting the seismometer safely on the ground is an awesome Christmas present,” he added.
“Having the seismometer on the ground is like holding a phone up to your ear,” said Philippe Lognonne, principal investigator of SEIS from Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and Paris Diderot University. “We’re thrilled that we’re now in the best position to listen to all the seismic waves from below Mars’ surface and from its deep interior,” he noted.
NASA’s Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) spacecraft landed on Mars on November 26. The InSight spacecraft is a first outer space robotic explorer that will study the crust, mantle, and core of the fourth planet in our solar system.
The landing of InSight spacecraft was also streamed on NASA’s website, Television and social media platforms including YouTube. The spacecraft was launched on May 5 this year from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and has undertaken a six-month cruise from Earth to Mars ever since.
Since the landing, the InSight team has been working carefully towards deploying its two dedicated science instruments onto Martian soil. The Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), which does not have its own separate instrument, has already begun using InSight’s radio connection with Earth to collect preliminary data on the planet’s core.