NASA’s InSight Lander Successfully Touches Down on Mars

InSight Lander Touchdown on Mars

Artist impression of InSight Lander on Mars. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Seven months after leaving Earth, NASA's InSight lander has touched down on Mars. This is just the eighth successful landing on the Red Planet for NASA and is a breakthrough moment as humanity moves closer and closer to interplanetary living.

InSight traveled 300 million miles to Mars, landing on November 26 near the planet's equator on an expanse of smooth lava known as the Elysium Planitia. The lander will spend two years on the Red Planet, studying its deep interior in order to better understand how celestial bodies with rocky surfaces formed. This research will lay the groundwork for future human missions to the Moon and Mars.

“This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.”

InSight didn't make the voyage alone. Assisting it were two experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats. These miniaturized satellites left on the same rocket as the lander and followed it to Mars. It was one of these cubes that set off the signal indicating to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) that InSight had successfully landed. As the first CubeSats sent into space, their success in carrying out in-flight navigation and communication tasks is revolutionary.

“That's one giant leap for our intrepid, briefcase-sized robotic explorers,” said Joel Krajewski, MarCOproject manager at JPL. “I think CubeSats have a big future beyond Earth's orbit, and the MarCO team is happy to trailblaze the way.”

After entering Mars' atmosphere at 12,300 mph, InSight performed a complicated sequence of operations to touch down in just six and a half minutes. Once landed, InSight deployed two solar panels, which will continue to provide it with power. NASA received confirmation of successful deployment via the Mars Odyssey orbiter as well as a photo of the lander with its solar panels in place.

Now that the InSight lander is set up, it can begin drilling and conducting the important research that NASA officials have been waiting for. “Every Mars landing is daunting, but now with InSight safely on the surface we get to do a unique kind of science on Mars,” said JPL director Michael Watkins. “The experimental MarCO CubeSats have also opened a new door to smaller planetary spacecraft. The success of these two unique missions is a tribute to the hundreds of talented engineers and scientists who put their genius and labor into making this a great day.”

If you want to follow along with InSight's adventures, the lander has its own Twitter and website.

NASA is celebrating the successful touchdown of the Insight lander on Mars, where it will spend two years researching the interior of the Red Planet.

Not long after landing, InSight took its first picture.

Shortly after that, InSight completed the critical task of deploying two solar panels to provide it with power and we were given a clear photo of its point of view on Mars.

Watch the thrilling moment as NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in California waits for confirmation of the InSight landing.

NASA: Website | Facebook | Instagram

All images via NASA.

Related Articles:

NASA Releases Inspirational Look at Its Achievements for 60th Anniversary

NASA Selects Contest Winners of 3D-Printed Habitat Designs for Mars

NASA’s Juno Probe Sends Back Incredible Photos of Jupiter’s Swirling Clouds

The Cosmic Cool NASA x Vans “Space Voyager Collection” Has Just Landed

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content