InSight, NASA's unmanned Mars earthquake sensor, landed at a slight angle on the Red Planet, and experts hope the spacecraft will function as planned, the US Space Agency said Friday.
The $ 993 million lander landed on Monday its target, a lava plains named Elysium Planitia, for a two-year mission aimed at understanding the formation of the planet's neighboring planet.
"The vehicle sits slightly tilted (about 4 degrees) in a shallow dust and sand impact crater called a" trough, "NASA said in a statement.
InSight has been designed to work on a surface with an inclination of up to 1
Therefore Experts I hope that its two main tools – an earthquake sensor and a self-piercing mole to measure the heat below the surface – will work as planned.
"We could not be happier," said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman of Jet Propulsion, NASA Laboratory.
"There are no landing pads or runways on Mars, so running down an area that's basically a big sandbox with no big rocks should make instrument deployment easier and give our mole a great place to dig. "
The first pictures of Der Lander shows only a few nearby stones, more good news, because placing them near a rocky area would have made the use of solar arrays and instruments difficult.
Better pictures are expected in the coming days, as soon as InSight has dropped the dust covers its two cameras.
"We look forward to high-resolution images to validate this preliminary assessment," said Bruce Banerdt, chief investigator for InSight at NASA.
"If these few images – with dissolution-reducing dust covers – are accurate, this is a good prerequisite for both the instrumentation and the penetration of our underground heat flux experiment."
Safe on Mars, InSight unfolds its arrays and takes a few pictures