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NASA: Spacecraft lands on Mars to explore planet’s interior

Posted at 11:57 AM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 15:20:00-05

UPDATE 11:53 a.m. – A NASA spacecraft has landed on Mars to explore the planet’s interior.

Flight controllers announced that the spacecraft InSight touched down Monday, after a perilous supersonic descent through the red Martian skies. Confirmation came via radio signals that took more than eight minutes to cross the nearly 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) between Mars and Earth.

There was no immediate word on whether the lander was in good working order. NASA satellites around Mars will provide updates.

It is NASA’s eighth successful Mars landing since the 1976 Vikings. The thee-legged, one-armed InSight will operate from the same spot for the next two years. It landed less than 400 miles (600 kilometers) from NASA’s Curiosity rover, which until Monday was the youngest working robot in town.

My first picture on Mars! My lens cover isn’t off yet, but I just had to show you a FIRST LOOK at my new home. More status updates: go.nasa.gov/InSightStatus #MarsLanding

Posted by NASA InSight on Monday, November 26, 2018


 

UPDATE: A NASA spacecraft is just a few hours away from landing on Mars.

The InSight lander is aiming for a Monday afternoon touchdown on what scientists and engineers hope will be a flat plain.

Everyone involved in the $1 billion international mission is understandably nervous. They say they’ve had trouble sleeping, and their stomachs are churning.

It’s risky business to descend through the Martian atmosphere and land, even for the U.S., the only country to pull it off. It would be NASA’s eighth landing on Mars.

The landing, which is expected to happen at around noon, can be viewed live here.


ORIGINAL STORY (AP): A NASA spacecraft’s six-month journey to Mars is nearing its dramatic grand finale.

The InSight lander aimed for a touchdown Monday afternoon, as anxiety built among those involved in the $1 billion international effort.

InSight’s perilous descent through the Martian atmosphere has stomachs churning and nerves stretched to the max.

While an old pro at this, NASA hasn’t attempted a landing at Mars for six years. The robotic geologist is designed to explore Mars’ mysterious insides.

Nasa’s InSight spacecraft was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base back in May of this year.

Some aerospace and physics students at Cal Poly helped work on two briefcase-sized CubeSat twin satellites that were part of the historic Nasa mission.

Children and their families can watch Monday’s landing live through the Vandenberg Launch Experience at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Community members can also head to Allan Hancock College’s Marin Theatre in Santa Maria for a live viewing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.