As NASA Celebrates Mars Landing, a Busy Future Awaits, Agency's Chief Says

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As NASA Celebrates Mars Landing, a Busy Future Awaits, Agency's Chief Says

Vid NASA's InSight lander today successfully fell through the atmosphere of Mars to touchdown in seemingly one piece on the planet's surface.

NASA went with its old, straightforward approach this time, using a parachute and braking engines to get InSight's speed from 12,300 mph when it pierced the Martian atmosphere, about 77 miles up, to 5 mph at touchdown. The lander touched down near Mars' equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia - a plain nearly as flat as a parking lot - just moments before 3 pm EST.

After seven months of traveling through space, the NASA InSight mission has landed on Mars.

"InSight's goal is to study the interior of Mars and take the planet's vital signs, its pulse and temperature", according to NASA. 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.

"Landing on Mars is one of the hardest single jobs that people have to do in planetary exploration", InSight's lead scientist, Bruce Banerdt, said before the landing.

NASA streamed the landing of their Mars InSight probe Monday, November 26 live on Twitch, and xQc made a decision to watch the stream along with his viewers.

Touchdown: NASA's InSight Lands on Mars (VIDEO)
xQc hates on NASA's microphones during stream

Mars once had flowing rivers and lakes, but the deltas and lakebeds are now dry.

The US space agency's robotic lander is on a mission to find out how warm and geologically active the planet is.

InSight's first few moments and hours on the Red Planet won't be as eventful as the probe's nerve-wracking descent and landing. "With that, we're actually doing atmospheric science as we're passing by Mars, and we'll be digging through that data as well", Klesh said. The NASA team said they were glad to see the dust, as they were hoping for a soft landing site.

"I'll tell you, it was intense, and you could feel the emotion", Bridenstine told Gay Yee Hill, a spokesperson for JPL, during the landing webcast.

Nasa hopes to measure Marsquakes and find out if the Red Planet has a liquid core and whether it contains iron.

There are significant mysteries here, because while both Mars and the Earth were formed from the same stuff more than 4.5 billion years ago, they are now very different planets. Some hypotheses suggest that there may be reservoirs of water just below the Martian surface, and the value of the heat flow number could help us understand whether these reservoirs are in a life-giving liquid state or are a not-so-life-giving solid ice. "Now we finally will explore inside Mars and deepen our understanding of our terrestrial neighbor as NASA prepares to send human explorers deeper into the solar system".

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