NASA’s Insight Mars Lander ‘hear’ Martian wind, shares images of the Red Planet and other performance

connectVideoNASA stunning new pictures of Mars

NASA’s Insight Mars Lander made history when it landed on the Red Planet at the end of November — the eighth successful landing on Mars since 1976. It became a member of NASA’s car-sized Curiosity rover, which has a number of interesting findings since it came on the planet in August 2012.

And even minutes after it landed on Mars, the sand, the Insight and the Lander was already at work. In the past week, checked different tasks from the task list.

“I landed on #Mars a week ago today. Here is what I have so far: Snap first images, Open the solar panels, Checking of health, status, Power on the instruments, the preliminary scientific data for the calibration,” NASA tweeted on Dec. 4 an account dedicated to the Insight Lander’s mission. The account noted it still had about the extension of the arm and take pictures of the deck.

It may not sound like much, but the Insight Lander, the journey has only just begun. Here is what the spacecraft has accomplished so far.

Survive the “7 minutes of terror”

The three-legged Insight settled on the western side of Elysium Planitia, the plain that NASA was focused on the Nov. 26.

After six months of travel 300 million kilometers with speeds of up to 12,000 km / h, the Insight Lander in the atmosphere of Mars — but it was not an easy task.

“There is a reason engineers are calling the landing on Mars ‘seven minutes of terror’, the Rob Grover, Insight’s entry, descent and landing (EDL) lead, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. “We can’t stick the landing, so we must rely on the commands of the pre-program into the spacecraft. We’ve spent years testing our plans, learn from other Mars landing and the study of all the conditions of Mars can throw at us.”


On Nov. 26 at 3 pm, and the Insight Lander successfully completed its “soft landing.”

“Touchdown confirmed!” a flight controller called fellow NASA employees.


Because of the distance between the Earth and Mars, it took eight minutes for confirmation to arrive, passed by a few small satellites, which are already trailing the spacecraft.

“Cool,” explained JPL’s chief engineer, Rob Manning. “Sometimes things work out in your favor.”

First photos

Just a few minutes after it landed on Mars’ sandy soil, the 800-pound Insight Lander had sent back “nice and dirty” images to the space station. Hours later, the spacecraft sent a clearer picture of the environment.

These images are just the beginning of what the spacecraft is expected to capture during the $1 billion international mission to the Red Planet.

A week later, NASA blasted Twitter with beautiful pictures of the planet Mars Elysium Planitia, the lava plain where the Insight Lander parked on.


“Raise your hand if you’re in this new picture of #Mars!” NASA wrote in a Dec. 6 tweet. “These two tiny chips contain the names of more than 2.4 million people who have signed up to fly with me. We are ON MARS, you. You are all honorary Martians!”

Hours later on the same day, NASA added, “One step at a time… Now I have my arm out, I can start creating a detailed 3D map of my workspace, the area for me, where I place my instruments. Here’s more on what I have done and what is yet to come.”

“I don’t like to brag, but tell me when have you ever seen a more beautiful solar array,” NASA then joked.

Bruce Banerdt, the mission’s principal investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, said space enthusiasts can expect more photos to be released in mid-December.

“Beginning next week (Dec. 10-15), we will be imaging in the finer details and creating a full mosaic,” Banerdt said in an online statement.


Another camera is called the Instrument Context Camera on the Insight Lander will also be the positions of the spacecraft “workspace”.

“We had a protective cover on the Instrument Context Camera, but somehow dust still managed to get onto the lens,” Tom Hoffman of JPL, Insight, project manager, said in a statement. ‘It is a pity, it will not affect the role of the camera to take images of the area in front of the lander where our instruments will eventually be placed.”

“Hear” the Martian wind

NASA’s new Mars lander has captured the first sound of the Martian wind.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory released audio clips of the alien wind on Dec. 7. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by the Insight lander during the first week-and-a-half of the work on Mars.

“The capture of this audio is a non-scheduled treatment,” Banerdt said in an online statement. “But one of the things that our mission is dedicated to measuring the movement of Mars, and of course, movement caused by sound waves.”

Scientists agree the sound has an otherworldly quality to it, and they feel as though they are on the spaceship.

The noise of the wind against the Insight of the solar panels and the resulting vibration of the entire spacecraft. The sounds were recorded by a pressure sensor on the lander that is part of the weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the vessel.

“The Insight lander acts as a giant ear,” Tom Pike, the Understanding science team member, and the sensor designer at the Imperial College in London, added in a statement. “The solar panels of the lander sides react to the pressure of the movement of the wind. It is as if Insight is cupping its ears and hear the march wind store. When we looked at the direction of the lander vibrations emanating from the solar panels, this corresponds to the expected wind direction on our site.”

Beautiful selfie

The first selfie taken by NASA’s Insight lander on Mars. The 11-image composite, which was released in December. 11, 2018, shows the lander solar panels and a sun terrace.

The Mars lander broke the first selfie of the surface of the Red Planet on Dec. 6.

“The spacecraft used a camera on the robot arm to the first selfie — a mosaic made of 11 images,” NASA said in an online statement, noting the spacecraft is clearly not camera-shy. “This is the same procedure used by NASA’s Curiosity rover mission, in which many overlapping photos are taken and later stitched together. Visible in the selfie, the lander’s solar panel and the entire deck, including the science instruments.”

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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