NASA InSight lands utilized its first instrument on the Mars surface, marking the first time a seismometer was placed on the surface of another planet.
The new images of the landing showed the seismometer on the ground, its copper-colored light easily at Martin's sunset, according to the InSight team on Thursday.
"InSight's Mars Activity Calendar has gone better than expected," said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman, who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
"Put the seismometer safely on the ground is a wonderful Christmas gift," he said.
The InSight team has been working diligently to spread its two scientific instruments dedicated to martian land since it landed on Mars on November 26. In addition to the seismometer, also known as the seismic internal structure experiment (SEIS), the second heat probe is known as the physical properties and the heat flow probe (HP3).
Meanwhile, the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), which does not have its own separate instrument, has already started using InSight's radio link with Earth to collect preliminary data on the planet's core, the team said. InSight.
To ensure the successful implementation of the instruments, engineers had to verify that the robotic arm that gathers and places the InSight instruments on the Mars surface worked properly.
They also needed to analyze images of the Martian terrain around the module to find the best places to install the instruments, the team said.
InSight engineers sent the orders to the spacecraft Tuesday, and the seismometer was carefully placed on the ground at the arm in front of the lander on Wednesday, according to the team.
"The utilization of the seismometer is as important as landing InSight on Mars," InSight, chief researcher Bruce Banerdt, said.
"The seismometer is the highest priority instrument in InSight, we need it to accomplish about three-quarters of our scientific goals," he said.
The seismometer allows researchers to observe the interior of Mars by studying the Earth's motion, also known as marsquakes. By analyzing how seismic waves pass through the layers of the planet, scientists can derive the depth and composition of these layers.
In the next few days, the InSight team will work to raise the seismometer. The first scientific data from the seismometer comes back to Earth after the seismometer is in the right position, the team said.
The heat probe is programmed to be placed on the Mars surface at the end of January, on the eastern side of the farmer's work area, according to the team.
InSight safely landed on Mars on November 26 by launching a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.