NASA InSight Takes its First Selfie on Mars

NASA InSight selfie 3 photos
Photo: NASA
NASA InSight workplaceNASA InSight Selfie
Nearly three weeks ago, the first human-made machine to land on Mars in six years reached the Red Planet to conduct a series of never-before attempted experiments. The machine is called InSight, and it has already begun its work at its new home.
InSight was sent to Mars to look for quakes and perturbations of Mars' rotation axis, and also to gather information about the planet's core, including the amount of heat escaping from underneath. For these task, it will use sensors placed under the surface of the planet, after digging 10 to 16 feet (3 to 5 meters) holes into the Martian soil.

Before getting to that, however, the InSight had to perform a series of self-diagnostics to see if everything is in working order. Part of that diagnostic was to visually check the integrity of the lander, a thing InSight had already done last week.

This week, however, the lander has taken the first selfie of itself and sent it back to Earth for all to see. As usual, the selfie is, in fact, a mosaic of 11 photos pieced together through the same imaging process used for the Curiosity rover.

NASA says the elements to be seen in the photo are the lander's solar panel and its entire deck, including its science instruments.

A second photo, also a mosaic, is comprised of 52 photos and shows the place where the immobile platform will be doing its job, that is the 14-by-7-foot (4-by-2-meters) crescent of terrain located right in front of the spacecraft.

"The near-absence of rocks, hills and holes means it'll be extremely safe for our instruments," said in a statement InSight's Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

"This might seem like a pretty plain piece of ground if it weren't on Mars, but we're glad to see that."
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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