NASA unveiled the first pictures of Mars taken "Institut"


NASA engineers Kris Bruvold and Sandy Krasner celebrate after the In Sight lander safely touched down on Mars. Al Seib AFP Getty Images

NASA's InSight spacecraft has sent signals to Earth after its successful landing on Mars, indicating that its solar panels are open and collecting sunlight on the Martian surface.

InSight will begin to collect science data within the first week after landing.

MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on November 26, 2018. Teledyne's image sensors will play a major role in helping scientists and engineers decide where to place the very specialized instruments to inform the best results of the study of Mars' interior.

The solar arrays are about seven feet tall, and they are basically an upgraded version of the ones that are used with NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. "Landing was thrilling, but I'm looking forward to the drilling", said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of JPL. It will take two to three months before those instruments are fully deployed and send back data. The landing site is near the Mars equator on the western side of Elysium Planitia, a plain that is roughly 373 miles away from the Gale Crater where the Curiosity Rover landed in 2012.

They were nicknamed EVE and WALL-E, for the robots from the 2008 Pixar film. "They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as "tag-alongs" on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing". But during the flyby, MarCO-A transmitted signals through the edge of the Martian atmosphere. NASA team will see how much fuel is left in each CubeSat and will also carry out a detailed analysis of relay capabilities. MarCO-B also beamed back an image of Mars while flying about 6,000 kilometres above the surface of the Mars. "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface".

CubeSats are a type of spacecraft, much smaller in size compared to traditional, large spacecraft.

Trebi-Ollennu's interest in spacecraft developed when he was growing up in Ghana. "But they're low-priced ride-alongs that can allow us to explore in new ways".

"MarCO is mostly made up of early-career engineers and, for many, MarCO is their first experience out of college on a NASA mission", said Joel Krajewski of JPL, MarCO's project manager. "We are proud of their accomplishment".

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