NASA’s InSight lander just snapped its first selfie, and it’s a stunner


After an nearly seven-month, 300-million-mile (458 million km) journey from Earth, InSight touched down on November 26, 2018, near Mars' equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia.

The InSight spacecraft, which touched down on the flat equatorial plain Elysium Planitia on November 26, took the selfie using the camera on its 5.9-foot-long (1.8 meters) robotic arm.

'The solar panels on the lander's sides are ideal acoustic receivers, ' Prof Pike said.

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", Bruce Banerdt, InSight's principal investigator, said in a statement. Right now, scientists and engineers here on Earth are figuring out where the best place to place its seismometer and heat-flow probe.

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The landing platform of the InSight mission sent to Mars selfie.

NASA's InSight lander isn't camera-shy.

"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.

It showcases the first complete look of "workspace" - the approximately 14-by-7-foot (4-by-2-metre) crescent of terrain directly in front of the spacecraft -, where the spacecraft's instruments such as seismometer (called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS) and heat-flow probe (known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3) can be placed. Even so, the landing spot turned out even better than they hoped. That should make it easier for one of InSight's instruments, the heat-flow probe, to bore down to its goal of five metres below the surface. InSight will eventually use the almost six-foot long (2 meter) arm to pick up and carefully place the science instrument on the Martian surface. The main thing the team is looking to avoid is any rocks larger than a half-inch which doesn't look like it will be too hard based on the image showing the lander's immediate surroundings. And is gearing up to deploy a suite of instruments that will help fill in the knowledge gaps of Earth's closest neighbor. Found as good of a home as it could find.