It’s only been about a month since NASA’s InSight lander touched down on the Martian surface, but it has already accomplished a plethora of preliminary tasks ahead of its future scientific observations.
Soon after landing at Elysium Planitia, the lander captured photographs of its surroundings with its onboard camera system. Additional images captured with the Mars-orbiting Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show the InSight lander’s parachute, chassis, and heat shield deployed on the planet’s surface. It wasn’t long after that InSight took a mandatory selfie.
Once NASA was satisfied with InSight’s landing job and surroundings, the space agency activated some of its onboard instruments and captured sounds of the Martian winds with the seismometer and air pressure sensor. All of this happened before NASA officially deployed the seismometer on the Martian surface.
With InSight getting ready to explore the heart of Mars for information about the planet’s thermodynamics, Marsquakes, and planetary wobble, we expect NASA that will be able to paint a better picture of Mars’ formation and get a better idea about whether the planet once supported life.
Fortunately, we can count on the Curiosity rover to do some exploring while we continue waiting for InSight to finish setting itself up.