The NASA InSight lander has finally removed the lens cover from its cameras, allowing the robotic explorer to take the clearest pictures of his new home.
The space agency shared a series of high-resolution photos captured this week, including a view of the two small chips that bore the name of over 2 million people on the red planet.
InSight will soon start taking pictures of the terrain directly in front of it, so the team can select the best location to explore.
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The NASA InSight lander has finally removed the lens cover from its cameras, allowing the robotic explorer to take the clearest pictures of his new home. The space agency shared a series of high-resolution photos captured this week, including a view of the two small chips that bore the name of over 2 million people on the red planet
We're on MARS, guys, & # 39; the InSight Twitter account published today. "You are all honorary Marians."
The latest images are far from the first snapshots, obscured by dust and protective covers.
Now, the lander is showing that he is ready to go to work.
"Today we can see the first glimpses of our work space," said Bruce Benerdy, principal researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
"At the start of next week, we will see it in detail and create a complete mosaic."
The robotic arm can extend for about six meters and will soon be used to remove the scientific instruments from the deck and put them on the ground.
InSight carries two chips containing the names of over 2 million people (left) "We're on MARS, guys," the InSight Twitter account released today. "You're all honorary Martians." The lander also took a new photo of his robotic arm, this time showing a much clearer vision
This process will take two to three months. The other InSight camera, located under the deck, will also be used to take pictures of its workspace, but the Instrument Context Camera has managed to get some dust somewhere along the way. path.
"We had a protective cover on the Instrument Context Camera, but somehow the dust still managed to rise on the target," said Tom Hoffman, project manager at InSight.
"Although this is unlucky, it will not affect the role of the camera, which is to take pictures of the area in front of the area in front of the lander where our tools will eventually be placed." 39;
So far, InSight has operated with the utmost care; the team has planned to pause what it is doing and ask for help if it encounters something unexpected.
The robotic arm can extend for about six meters and will soon be used to remove the scientific instruments from the deck and put them on the ground. A partial view of the deck is shown
THREE INSIGHT KEY INSTRUMENTS
The lander that could reveal how the Earth was formed: the InSight lander set for Mars landing on November 26
Three key tools will allow the InSight lander to "take the pulse" of the red planet:
Seismometer: The InSight lander carries a seismometer, SEIS, listening to the pulse of Mars.
The seismometer records the waves traveling through the internal structure of a planet.
The study of seismic waves tells us what the waves could create.
On Mars, scientists suspect the perpetrators may be earthquakes, or meteorites that hit the surface.
Heat probe: The InSight heat transfer probe, HP3, digs deeper than any other spoon, drill or probe on Mars before it.
He will investigate how much heat is still flowing out of Mars.
Radio antennas: Like the Earth, Mars falters a little as it rotates around its axis.
To study this, two radio antennas, part of the RISE instrument, accurately track the position of the lander.
This helps scientists to test the reflections of the planet and explains to them how the deep internal structure influences the motion of the planet around the Sun.
This process led to some brief delays in receiving images, which were expected to return last weekend.
"We conducted extensive Earth tests," said Hoffman.
"But we know that everything is a bit different for the Mars lander, so the failures are not unusual.
"They can delay operations, but we're not in a hurry, we want to make sure that every operation we perform on Mars is safe, so we set up our security monitors initially sensitive enough."
The InSight touchdown last month marks the eighth successful landing of NASA on the Red Planet.
Experts hope that the mission will be the first to unlock the geological secrets of the hidden core of the planet, using a probe to dig 16 feet (5 m) below the surface.
InSight landed in a region known as Elysium Planitia. His position can be seen in the top map, not far from the landing site of the Curiosity 2012 mission, the last NASA probe lands on Mars
This image shows some of the tools visible in the selfie image sent to Earth by InSight at the beginning of last Tuesday
With InSight successfully planted on the red planet, it can soon start digging to analyze the mysterious world beneath the Martian surface.
"In the years and the next few months, history books will be rewritten on the interior of Mars," Hoffman said during the conference.
The team will now find the right spot for InSight to lower its seismometers so it can start collecting data.
"Now that we are on the surface of Mars, we have a lot of work to do," explained Elizabeth Barrett, InSight Science Instruments Ops, during the press conference.
The first InSight tool proved to be its camera, even though the lens cover is still on. "My first image on #Mars!" The InSight account tweeted after landing, along with a grainy picture of a reddish brown background. The space agency has released a high resolution version not long after
The robot will go through an initial evaluation phase to check its general health and the health of its instruments before it can go on to the deployment phase.
So, once the time comes to implement its suite of tools, this process is expected to last two to three months.
InSight will position its seismometer, and only once the team is satisfied with its position and initial operations will it return to the bridge to get its wind and heat shields, which will sit atop the seismometer for protection.
The lander will then collect the heat probe to bring it to the surface, before beginning its historical excavation.
In the end, once everything is fixed, Barrett says we will be "seated listening to the earthquakes of Mars".