On the Red Planet, NASA's InSight lander looks bright. After a successfulon November 26, the lander extends his robotic arm and sends back some new looks, some of which are self-contained, some planetary.
Unlike NASA's roaming rovers, InSight was designed to stay in one place using instruments on the Martian surface. A robot arm with a range of 2 meters is used for this purpose.
The Arm's Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) is attached to the elbow so that InSight and its surroundings can be monitored.
A fresh IDC image from Tuesday shows the arm and a stowed grab. The copper-colored device is a seismometer that chases Marsquakes. The domed object behind it is a wind and heat shield for the instrument.
On the left side of the picture you can see a black cylinder. This is the Heat Flow and Physical Properties (HP3) probe that will drill deep into Mars to measure the planet's temperature.
The InSight team is in no hurry to use the investigative machines. The lander's cameras continue exploring the area so the scientists can find out where to place the instruments. It may take several months for the seismometer and the drill to get to work.
Another new picture gives us a good view of the shovel and the grapple at the end of the arm. We can also see a relatively smooth piece of Martian landscape near the lander.
"Today we can see the first insights into our workspace," said InSight chief investigator Bruce Banerdt. "Until the beginning of next week, we will take a more detailed look and create a complete mosaic."
InSight is on a mission to investigate the vital functions of Mars so that we can learn more about how rocky planets form and how Mars has taken a path other than Earth.
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