Friday , January 15 2021

Mars InSight lands in the first pictures of the room

NASA's InSight spacecraft, its heat screen and its parachute were depicted on the 6th and 11th of December by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

On November 26, NASA's InSight mission announced the spacecraft affected in a 81 kilometer long (130 kilometer long) landing plot on Mars. Now, the team has determined InSights's exact location using HiRISE images, a powerful camera aboard another NASA spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

InSight Lander, the heat shield and parachute was discovered by HiRISE (who stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) in a set of pictures last week, December 6th and again Tuesday, December 11th. Lander, heat shield and parachute are within 1000 meters (several hundred meters) of each other on Elysium Planitia, the flat lava plain selected as InSights landing site.

This is not the first time HiRISE has photographed a Mars landing. InSight is based mainly on 2008's Phoenix spacecraft, as the camera aboard the MRO caught on Mars surface as well as falling on its parachute. While the HiRISE team at the University of Arizona also tried to take a picture of InSight while landing, MRO was much less appropriate and could not take a good picture.

InSight Lander. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

Parachute. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

Heat shield. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

The red dot marks the final landing point of NASA's InSight lands in this annotated image of the Mars surface taken by the THEMIS camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter in 2001 in 2015. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

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