Their plan was dangerous. The chances of failure: literally astronomical. Years of meticulous planning, stress, and hope led to one pure moment, a shining instance to stake our claim in the cosmos, to assure the human race that we might just ascend from the Earth and into the deepest unknowns.
And when the moment came, two NASA technicians successfully delivered their intricate secret handshake on a livestream beamed across the planet.
Sure, the handshake was in celebration of the Mars InSight lander safely reaching the surface of our little red neighbour, but let’s not ignore the real accomplishment here.
Our @NASAInSight spacecraft stuck the #MarsLanding!— NASA (@NASA) November 26, 2018
Its new home is Elysium Planitia, a still, flat region where it’s set to study seismic waves and heat deep below the surface of the Red Planet for a planned two-year mission. Learn more: https://t.co/fIPATUugFo pic.twitter.com/j0hXTjhV6I
This morning, NASA successfully delivered the rover to the surface of Mars, capping off a years-long effort to return an unmanned research craft to the surface of the nearest planet to our own.
InSight, the first NASA rover to touch down on Mars in six years, celebrated its arrival by sending a holiday snap back to Earth.
???? Wish you were here! @NASAInSight sent home its first photo after #MarsLanding:— NASA (@NASA) November 26, 2018
InSight’s view is a flat, smooth expanse called Elysium Planitia, but its workspace is below the surface, where it will study Mars’ deep interior. pic.twitter.com/3EU70jXQJw
InSight – short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport – is the first NASA rover sent to delve into the deeper layers of Mars’ geology. It is hoped those findings will help researchers learn more about our own planet’s creation.
“Landing was thrilling, but I’m looking forward to the drilling,” said Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Punters hoping for NASA to confirm if there was ever deadset life on Mars will likely have to wait another couple of years for NASA’s 2020 rover project, which will actually power some rock samples back to Earth for testing.
Y’all can keep up to date with InSight’s findings over the next two years at the rover’s Twitter account (but more elaborate handshakes are not guaranteed).
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Image: Bill Ingalls / NASA / Getty Images