In the first selfie taken by InSight, the NASA probe seems ready to go rarin.
This wonderful mosaic, which consists of 11 individual images, shows the entire spacecraft as it sits beautifully on the Mars surface. The photographs were captured by the camera and a device layout on the InSight's robotic arm. The two solar panels of the lander can be seen, along with various science tools on its deck, such as the weather sensor boom and the UHF antenna. Insight landed on Mars on November 26, and the NASA project is already going to swim completely in the early stages.
This second mosaic, consisting of 52 individual images, presents the immediate work environment of Insight, that is, the space on which the spacecraft will study its science tools. The area shown on the mosaic measures around 4.27m by 2.13m. The lavender areas show the best points for the lander to place its seismometer: the seismic experiment of the internal structure (SEIS).
This is, quite incidentally, the area where a stationary probe will do its job. NASA chose this particular place on Mars, Elysium Palenetia, because it was relatively free from rocks, but to improve the situation, the spacecraft landed on a rock-free rock bottom – a hole created by an ancient meteor that slowly filled the sand – A few small stones scattered around.
"The near absence of rocks, hills and holes means it will be extremely safe for our devices," said InSight chief investigator Bruce Banerdt in a statement. "It may seem like a fairly simple piece of ground if it was not on Mars, but we're happy to see it."
Mission planners will now decide where in this space the spacecraft should place its ground sensing instruments. After locating a point, they will send commands to the spacecraft, and will instruct InSight's robotic arm to carefully determine the SEIS and its heat flow, called heat flow and the physical feature pack, at pre-selected locations. Flatter the surface, the better, as these devices will work best on the surface. It will also be good for InSight to prevent larger rocks on a half inch (1.3 cm) .When the drilling begins, the heat flow probe can dig as deep as 16 feet (nearly 5 meters) below the Mars surface.
With so many potential points of failure, it's a relief to see this project to start so smoothly. We knock on trees that things continue to progress in NASA and in its new investigation.[NASA]