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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s InSight lander has arrived on Mars

It will study the planet’s interior for the first time.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's InSight lander has touched down on Mars, completing its over six-month journey to the planet. InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, landed on Mars just before 3PM Eastern after a successful entry, deceleration and parachute deployment. The lander will soon get to work -- assuming its solar panels deploy correctly -- and will, for the first time, give us a look at the interior of our planetary neighbor.

InSight is equipped with three instruments -- a seismometer to study marsquakes (earthquakes on Mars), meteorite impacts and dust storms, a heat flow probe to measure how much heat is flowing out of the planet's interior and a pair of antennas to track the wobble of Mars' North Pole. Together the equipment will help scientists learn more about how rocky planets like Mars formed and evolved. The lander will also provide more information on Mars' current level of tectonic activity and meteorite impact rates.

NASA launched InSight in May. It's NASA's most recent Mars lander since Phoenix, which ended its mission in 2008. Moments after landing, InSight relayed its first image back to Earth, one of hopefully many more to come.

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