These Newly-Released Selfies From NASA’s Mars InSight Lander Are Extremely Cool
Here, we have a color-calibrated image of InSight’s robotic arm with its scoop and grapple:
You can also get a better glimpse of the instruments on the deck of the spacecraft, as well as the terrain of Mars in the background:
And here’s a dust-speckled view of Mars from the lens of InSight’s Instrument Context Camera (ICC):
According to NASA, InSight is currently in the process of setting up its instruments on Mars. The deployment is likely to take a while because the scientists want to proceed with caution.
During the first few weeks in its new home, InSight has been instructed to be extra careful, so anything unexpected will trigger what’s called a fault. Considered routine, it causes the spacecraft to stop what it is doing and ask for help from operators on the ground.
“We did extensive testing on Earth. But we know that everything is a little different for the lander on Mars, so faults are not unusual,” Hoffman said. “They can delay operations, but we’re not in a rush. We want to be sure that each operation that we perform on Mars is safe, so we set our safety monitors to be fairly sensitive initially.”
Once the deployment is complete, InSight’s measuring instruments and probes will hopefully give us more data about Mars’s interiors, including the planet’s seismic tremors and how heat flows through its structure.
“InSight is going take the heartbeat and vital signs of the Red Planet for an entire Martian year, two Earth years. We are really going to have an opportunity to understand the processes that control the early planetary formation.”