Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space

**Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space
NASA's InSight spacecraft, its heat shield and its parachute were imaged on Dec. 6 and 11 by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

On Nov. 26, NASA's InSight mission knew the spacecraft touched down within an 81-mile-long (130-kilometer-long) landing ellipse on Mars. Now, the team has pinpointed InSight's exact location using images from HiRISE, a powerful camera onboard another NASA spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The InSight lander, its and parachute were spotted by HiRISE (which stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) in one set of images last week on Dec. 6, and again on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The lander, heat shield and parachute are within 1,000 feet (several hundred meters) of one another on Elysium Planitia, the flat lava plain selected as InSight's landing location.

This isn't the first time HiRISE has photographed a Mars lander. InSight is based largely on 2008's Phoenix spacecraft, which the camera aboard MRO captured on the surface of Mars as well as descending on its parachute. While the HiRISE team at the University of Arizona also tried to take an image of InSight during landing, MRO was at a much less opportune angle and wasn't able to take a good picture.

  • **Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space
    InSight Lander. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
  • **Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space
    Parachute. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
  • **Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space
    Heat Shield. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
  • **Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space
    The red dot marks the final landing location of NASA's InSight lander in this annotated image of the surface of Mars, taken by the THEMIS camera on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter in 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Explore further

InSight Mars lander takes its first selfie

Provided by JPL/NASA
Citation: Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space (2018, December 14) retrieved 26 January 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-mars-insight-lander-images-space.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
481 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments