Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

NASA’s InSight Lander Just Took Its First Selfie On Mars

NASA’s InSight Lander Just Took Its First Selfie On Mars

The InSight spacecraft, which touched down on the flat equatorial plain Elysium Planitia on November 26, took the selfie using the camera on its 5.9-foot-long (1.8 meters) robotic arm.

'The solar panels on the lander's sides are flawless acoustic receivers, ' Prof Pike said.

One of InSight's 7-foot (2.2 meter) wide solar panels was imaged by the lander's Instrument Deployment Camera, which is fixed to the elbow of its robotic arm.

The robot has been kept busy since it arrived on Mars, using a mosaic of 11 images, it took a picture of itself which it beamed back to Earth. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

NASA's InSight lander is looking slick.

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InSight's landing team deliberately chose a landing region in Elysium Planitia that is relatively free of rocks. The landing spot turned out even better than they hoped. InSight touched down in an nearly rock-free hollow, or a meteor impact area that filled with sand. Next, the robotic arm will provide a team to carefully install the seismometer (SEIS) and the heat flow sensor in the selected areas.

"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 in Pasadena, California. He notes, "We're glad to see that".

This mosaic, composed of 52 individual images from NASA's InSight lander, shows the workspace where the spacecraft will eventually set its science instruments.

InSight will eventually use the almost six-foot long (2 meter) arm to pick up and carefully place the science instrument on the Martian surface.

Both work best on level ground, and the engineers want to avoid setting them on rocks larger than about a half-inch (1.3 cm). The soft ground should ease the digging for the heat probe, which was created to get between 10 feet and 16 feet (3 to 5 meters) underground. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.

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