InSight Spacecraft lands on Mars


Juandavid Velazquez, Reporter

Six months ago, the InSight spacecraft was launched on course to the red planet. On Monday, the planet safely touched down onto the surface.  

The spacecraft launched on May 5th, 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base on an Atlas V-401.  This was the first interplanetary launch from the West coast. All of NASA’s interplanetary missions were launched from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral in Florida. This is because the physics of launching off East coast are beneficial to journeys to other planets.  

Once the spacecraft landed, it opened its solar instruments and began its recharge for exploration and research.  “The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries,” Says Tom Hoffman, InSight’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The 7 feet long solar arrays provide 600 to 700 watts, which is enough to power a domestic blender along with its science tools, say NASA officials.  

The spacecraft sent back images of the desolate planet. “There’s a quiet beauty here. Looking forward to exploring my new home,” Tweeted NASA, hours after the spacecraft landed.  

“Our Mars Odyssey orbiter phoned home, relaying news from @NASAInSight indicating its solar panels are open & collecting sunlight on the Martian surface,” NASA wrote in the tweet. “Also, in the dispatch: this snapshot from the lander’s arm showing the instruments in their new home.”  

InSight’s robotic arm will shortly unwind and allow scientists to determine where to place its tools.