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NASA Mars InSight Live highlights: Spacecraft sends first picture from Mars surface

NASA Mars InSight highlights: After sailing 301 million miles (548 million km) on a six-month voyage through deep space, the robotic lander InSight touched down on the dusty, rock-strewn surface of the Red Planet at about 2000 GMT.

By Agencies | Nov 27, 2018 17:52 IST

NASA’s Mars lander InSight touched down safely on the surface of the Red Planet on Monday to begin its two-year mission as the first spacecraft designed to explore the deep interior of another world.

Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles said the successful landing was confirmed by signals relayed to Earth from one of two miniature satellites that were launched along with InSight and flying past Mars when it arrived shortly before 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT)

Here are the highlights:

1:33 am IST

NASA’s InSight sends first picture from Mars surface

1:24 am IST

InSight’s touchdown confirmed

InSight’s touchdown confirmed

1:20 am IST

InSight’s parachute deploys

Parachute deploys as scheduled on unmanned Mars InSight

1:20 am IST

InSight enters Mars’s atmosphere

InSight enters Mars’s atmosphere, starts tense landing phase

1:01 am IST

‘Watch-parties’ at several places

NASA shows places where people have gathered to watch the landing of spacecraft in Mars.

00:50 am IST

InSight to land near Mars’ equator

The spacecraft is shooting for Elysium Planitia, a plain near the Martian equator that the InSight team hopes is as flat as a parking lot in Kansas with few, if any, rocks. This is no rock-collecting expedition. Instead, the stationary 800-pound (360-kilogram) lander will use its 6-foot (1.8-meter) robotic arm to place a mechanical mole and seismometer on the ground.

00:30 am IST

‘Large chance that something could go wrong’

“Landing on Mars is one of the hardest single jobs that people have to do in planetary exploration,” noted InSight’s lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt. “It’s such a difficult thing, it’s such a dangerous thing that there’s always a fairly uncomfortably large chance that something could go wrong.”

00:15 am IST

Six minutes of ‘terror’

InSight— designed to explore Mars’ mysterious insides — must go from 12,300 mph (19,800 kph) to zero in six minutes flat as it pierces the Martian atmosphere, pops out a parachute, fires its descent engines and, hopefully, lands on three legs.

11:45 pm IST

The spacecraft will spend 24 months in Mars

InSight will spend 24 months - about one Martian year - using seismic monitoring and underground temperature readings to unlock mysteries about how Mars formed and, by extension, the origins of the Earth and other rocky planets of the inner solar system.

11:35 pm IST

InSight is 21st US-launched Mars mission

The 880-pound (360 kg) InSight - its name is short for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport - marks the 21st US-launched Mars mission, dating back to the Mariner fly-bys of the 1960s. Nearly two dozen other Mars missions have been sent from other nations.

10:55 pm IST

Mars InSight’s goal is to listen for quakes and tremors

Mars InSight’s goal is to listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet’s inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago and, by extension, how other rocky planets like Earth took shape.

10:30 pm IST

Spacecraft nears landing for unprecedented seismic mission

After a seven-month journey, the lander will scream through the red planet’s thin atmosphere at more than 12,000 mph in a live-or-die bid to settle (in one piece) onto a flat area near the equator.