Here's the First Image Sent From NASA's New Mars InSight Lander
In case you haven't heard, we just touched down on Mars for the first time since 2012 on Monday, and even streamed the landing. As they say in the scientific community, that's super-cool, and now that we've landed, we've got brand new pictures of the Red Planet.
These images aren't quite Insta-worthy yet, but the cameras currently have dust covers on them, and once those come off we'll have a clearer picture. Until then, count your blessings. Science is cool, remember?
The mission is called InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport), and will last roughly two years, during which the lander will study Mars' seismology and internal heat to help us better understand how planets, including Earth, were formed. The mission launched all the way back on May 5, 2018 and landed around 3pm on November 26.
As we said, the plan isn't really about taking pictures of the planet's surface, but there are two cameras that help the craft get around. These are the Instrument Deployment Camera, which takes full-color images via a mounted arm, and the Instrument Context Camera, which is mounted on the front and takes pictures of the work area. That's the camera that gave you the image above.
Here's a version that's slightly cleaned up, via @JPMajor, "edited to remove the distracting debris from the lens cover and some barrel distortion. For aesthetic enjoyment only."
Here's a version of @NASAInSight's first #Mars image edited to remove the distracting debris from the lens cover and some barrel distortion. For aesthetic enjoyment only (and until we see a new version from the lander!) #MarsLanding pic.twitter.com/Kdf9yxwPvX— Jason Major (@JPMajor) November 26, 2018
See? Science is cool.
Update: NASA has released another image, this one from the Instrument Deployment Camera and apparently a selfie.
Our Mars Odyssey orbiter phoned home, relaying news from @NASAInSight indicating its solar panels are open & collecting sunlight on the Martian surface. Also in the dispatch: this snapshot from the lander's arm showing the instruments in their new home: https://t.co/WygR5X2Px4 pic.twitter.com/UwzBsu8BNe— NASA (@NASA) November 27, 2018