NASA has successfully landed on Mars, after seven months of travelling through space.
The InSight lander survived the perilous journey, sending the official ‘beep’ to NASA to signal that all was well.
The lander also sent a photo of the surface of Mars as they landed.
As reported by the Independent, a Mars landing is one of the most dangerous operations in spaceflight; there have been 17 attempts by humans to land on the planet’s surface, with 10 of those failing.
The InSight lander endured ‘seven minutes of terror’ as it crashed its way through the Martian atmosphere until it eventually touched down on the surface.
Because of previous failings, engineers were nervous going into this landing due to Mars’ difficult atmosphere.
However, the landing was ‘entirely perfect,’ with the lander and the satellites which sent communications to Earth, working as hoped.
CNN reported that the lander had to travel more than 300 million miles at a top speed of 6,200 mph while being followed by two cube satellites, called MarCO. These are the first cube satellites to fly into deep space.
Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said:
We’ve studied Mars from orbit and from the surface since 1965, learning about its weather, atmosphere, geology and surface chemistry. Now we finally will explore inside Mars and deepen our understanding of our terrestrial neighbour as NASA prepares to send human explorers deeper into the solar system.
— NASAInSight (@NASAInSight) November 26, 2018
Scientists reported that NASA’s Curiosity rover has found the best evidence so far of potential life in an ancient Martian lakebed.
The organic molecules preserved in 3.5 billion-year-old bedrock in Gale Crater — believed to once contain a shallow lake the size of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee — suggest conditions back then may have been conducive to life.
That leaves open the possibility that microorganisms once populated the planet, and still might.
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“NASA represents what is best about the United States of America. We lead, we discover, we pioneer and we inspire,” says Jim Bridenstine, our newly sworn-in administrator. Earlier today, Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) swore in Bridenstine as our 13th administrator who will oversee our ongoing mission of exploration and discovery. During the ceremony, Bridenstine had an opportunity to talk to three of our out-of-this-world employees living and working on the International Space Station (@ISS). A pilot in the U.S. Navy Reserve and former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, Bridenstine served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls #nasa #space #administrator #government #swearingin #ceremony #picoftheday #pictureoftheday #spaceagency #leader #leadership #vicepresident #vpotus
Curiosity’s project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said:
The chances of being able to find signs of ancient life with future missions, if life ever was present, just went up.
While Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, added:
With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life. I’m confident that our ongoing and planned missions will unlock even more breathtaking discoveries on the Red Planet.
The Curiosity rover was sent to Mars in November 2011 to study climate and geology, as well as exploring the planet’s potential to sustain life or liquid water.
The mission was originally intended to only be for two years but, due to its success, Curiosity’s mission has been extended indefinitely.
As with almost every announcement from NASA, eager enthusiasts wait patiently for the revelation they’ve found an alien life form.
For now though, I guess we’ll just have to make do with the knowledge that InSight have landed on the red planet successfully.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).