Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NASA spacecraft 'InSight' posts selfie from Mars

NASA spacecraft 'InSight' posts selfie from Mars

The workspace photo is also a composite, which combines 52 individual images, NASA officials said.

In the coming weeks, scientists and engineers will go through the painstaking process of deciding where in this workspace the spacecraft's instruments should be placed, it said. 26 Nov InSight spacecraft landed on the surface of Mars. They will then command InSight's robotic arm to carefully set the seismometer and heat-flow probe in the chosen locations.

As above, from this point the InSight is looking to drill into the surface of Mars.

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The selfie, released on Tuesday and shown above, is made up of 11 images that were stitched together. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission. Besides, the Mars 2020 rover is also planned to land on Mars and will be recording more audio of the Martian wind. The area shown in the mosaic measures around 4.27m by 2.13m.

"The near-absence of rocks, hills and holes means it'll be extremely safe for our instruments", said InSight's Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

"This might seem like a pretty plain piece of ground if it weren't on Mars, but we're glad to see that", Mr Banerdt added. It is shaped like a crescent and is beneath the vehicle. Setting those sensitive tools down on uneven rocks would be pointless, so it looks like NASA hit a home run with the selected landing site. Once drilling starts, the heat-flow probe could dig as deep as 16 feet (nearly 5 meters) below the Martian surface. Changes in sound frequency will help identify these materials. As a young Star Trek fan he participated in the letter-writing campaign which resulted in the space shuttle prototype being named Enterprise.While his academic studies have ranged from psychology and archaeology to biology, he has never lost his passion for space exploration. The curiosity is obviously to see what Mars is made.

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