NASA's New Mars Lander Takes 1st Selfie, Scopes Out Workspace

InSight показал себя в новом селфи на Марсе

NASA's InSight lander just took its first selfie on Mars — take a look

Visible in the selfie are the lander's solar panel and its entire deck, including its science instruments.

InSight, a first robotic lander created to study the deep interior of the Red Planet, touched down safely at Elysium Planitia for a two-year mission on the surface of Mars on November 26. Image released December 11, 2018. The resulting photo shows InSight's solar panels and deck, along with the scientific instruments on top of the deck and the lander's weather sensor. This image is also a mosaic composed of 52 individual photos, according to NASA.

When it comes to robots on Mars, one of NASA's many traditions is making sure its rovers snap a selfie or two while hanging out on the planet's dusty surface.

NASA has also announced that the mission team has received the first look at the full workspace in front of InSight where it will eventually place its instruments.

Latest images show how the lander's robotic arm is ready to do some lifting reaching up to 6 feet.

"The near-absence of rocks, hills and holes means it'll be extremely safe for our instruments", Banerdt said.

InSight's landing team deliberately chose a landing region in Elysium Planitia that is relatively free of rocks.

"This might seem like a pretty plain piece of ground if it weren't on Mars, but we're glad to see that", Banerdt added.

Over the next few weeks, scientists and engineers at NASA will determine where those instruments should go within the lander's workspace. InSight touched down in an nearly rock-free hollow, or a meteor impact area that filled with sand.

Those instruments include a self-burrowing heat probe and a suite of incredibly sensitive seismometers, both of which must be placed directly on the red dirt by InSight's arm.

And the flat, stable surface the scientists were expecting turned out to be just that.

JPL manages InSight for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. NASA says that sandy composition will make it easier for the heat-flow probe to bore down to the 16-foot depth below the surface it needs to operate. But InSight's landing spot is as good as it gets.

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