NASA's InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) investigation lucratively accomplished its soft landing on Mars after a six month 300 million mile journey.
The InSight mission team waited and "watched" for the probe's landing by monitoring InSight's radio signals with radio telescopes on Earth and a variety of spacecraft, according to a NASA press release. VOA's Kevin Enochs reports.
"Flawless", declared JPL's chief engineer, Rob Manning.
Museums, planetariums and libraries across the USA held viewing parties to watch the events unfold at JPL.
From now on, it's all business for InSIght, as it will begin to survey the Elysium Planitia region of Mars like no other machine ever sent there.
The friction as Insight traveled through the atmosphere generated intense heat, but the spacecraft's heat shield allowed the lander to withstand temperatures up to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, presiding over his first Mars landing as the space agency's boss, said: "What an incredible day for our country".
It's been six years since the last NASA mission that put a spacecraft on the surface of Mars.
All of this comes out over the next year or so on Mars.
The lander set down right on target in what Nasa described as "the biggest parking lot on Mars" - a tiresome, featureless plain on the equator whose name, ...
The giant NASDAQ screen in Times Square will start broadcasting NASA TV an hour before InSight's scheduled 3 p.m. EST touchdown. The thee-legged, one-armed InSight will operate from the same spot for the next two years.
The data gleaned will help scientists better understand the makeup of Mars' molten core and its crust.
This analysis will by provide an understanding of what the internal structure of Mars looks like, and in turn, an understanding of how it was formed. Mars stopped changing, while Earth continued to evolve.
In 2020, it will land another rover in an ancient lake bed to directly look for evidence of microbes, dead or alive.
InSight has no life-detecting capability, however.
Because Mars is further away from the sun than Earth, it gets weaker sunlight, so it's crucial that InSight's solar panels generate as much energy as possible.
"Mars is on the cusp between being an active planet and a dead planet, in terms of its capacity to evolve", Bibring says. The photo was marred by hundreds of blurry specs of Martian dust (the transparent lens cover was still on the camera mounted under InSight's landing deck), but beyond these cosmetic blemishes, the Mars surface was clear.