First Images From NASA's Insight Lander

People at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California celebrate as the In Sight lander touches down on Mars

Touchdown: NASA's InSight Lands on Mars (VIDEO)

Touchdown confirmed! Nasa has successfully landed its spacecraft on Mars and plans to explore the alien world for the next two years. The self-hammering mole will burrow 16 feet down to measure the planet's internal heat, while the seismometer listens for possible quakes. That signal came from an antenna on board, but additional data on the landing was recorded by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and two CubeSats in orbit as part of the Mars Cube One mission.

InSight is the first robot to land on Mars in six years, . and has been created to delve deeper into the structure of the planet and how it was formed.

The two experimental satellites not only relayed the good news in nearly real time, they sent back InSight's first snapshot of Mars just 4½ minutes after landing.

It was NASA's eighth successful Mars landing since the 1976 Vikings.

Speeding faster than a bullet at 12,300 miles (19,800 kilometers) an hour, the heat-shielded spacecraft encountered scorching friction as it entered the Mars atmosphere.

Flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, leapt out of their chairs, screaming, dancing and hugging, upon learning that InSight's had safely arrived on Mars, the graveyard for a multitude of previous missions.

Launched on May 5, InSight marks NASA's first Mars landing since the Curiosity rover in 2012.

The three-legged InSight spacecraft reached the surface after being slowed by a parachute and braking engines, the space agency said.

Touchdown: NASA's InSight Lands on Mars (VIDEO)

"This is a whole new way to compare what's happening on another planet to what we see on Earth", said Siebach.

"Here's a quick-and-dirty attempt at processing out distortion in the first image from InSight", Emily Lakdawalla, senior editor at the Planetary Society, wrote on Twitter.

Lockheed Martin worked with NASA engineers to ensure the spacecraft could withstand the stress of entry and descent.

NASA engineers were forced to wait until the landing was over to know if it was successful, though, as there's an eight minute delay in communications between Mars and Earth, and the landing only took about seven minutes.

"I'll tell you, it was intense, and you could feel the emotion", Bridenstine told Gay Yee Hill, a spokesperson for JPL, during the landing webcast.

Key to InSight's continued survival on the harsh surface of Mars is the deployment of its solar panels, which were stowed for the descent. NASA's Odyssey probe, orbiting Mars, will be used later today to check that's the case.

InSight will be landing at Elysium Planitia, called "the biggest parking lot on Mars" by astronomers. The mission will help boffins understand the formation of rocky planets, and the Solar System as a whole, explained Bruce Banerdt, InSight's principal investigator.

There are significant mysteries here, because while both Mars and the Earth were formed from the same stuff more than 4.5 billion years ago, they are now very different planets.

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