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NASA’s InSight Lander Sends Its First Clear Photo From Mars


After a half-year journey covering over 30 million miles, NASA’s InSight lander just touched down on the surface of Mars to begin its mission of studying the red planet’s deep interior. InSight also captured and sent back this first clear photo from the ground, a 1-megapixel selfie.

The photo was captured by InSight’s Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), which is found on the lander’s robotic arm. In the background is Elysium Planitia, a large plain located at the planet’s equator.

InSight’s first non-clear photo of Mars shows dust speckled on the transparent dust cover that was over the camera.

After snapping the photo, InSight beamed it to NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft that’s currently orbiting Mars, and the spacecraft then transmitted the image back to scientists here on Earth at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

In the coming days, InSight’s robotic arm camera will be used to photograph the ground to help scientists decide where to place the lander’s scientific instruments for its two-year mission.

Image credits: Photographs by NASA/JPL-Caltech