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NASA Photographs Mars InSight Lander From Space

The spacecraft will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until November 24, 2020

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NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
Nasa's Opportunity rover might have 'died' on Mars. Flickr

NASA has pinpointed the exact landing location of its newly launched InSight lander, using a powerful camera onboard another of the agency’s spacecraft, hovering around the Red Planet.

On November 26, InSight landed within a 130 km ellipse at Elysium Planitia on Mars. However, there was no way to determine exactly where it touched down within this region.

The HiRISE (which stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) aboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted Martian landscape and ground around the lander on Thursday, NASA said in a statement.

It released three new features on the Martian landscape, which appear to be teal. However, it is not their actual colour, but light reflected off their surfaces caused the colour to be saturated.

“The ground around the lander appears dark, having been blasted by its retro-rockets during descent. Look carefully for a butterfly shape, and you can make out the lander’s solar panels on either side,” NASA said.

HiRISE also spotted the lander’s heat shield and parachute, on December 6 and again on December 11, NASA said.

InSight, Mars, NASA, Martian Wind
InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will explore valuable science as NASA prepares to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. VOA

They are within 1,000 feet (several hundred meters) of one another on Elysium Planitia, the flat lava plain selected as InSight’s landing location.

Meanwhile, the InSight lander also took a first selfie using the spacecraft’s robotic arm on December 6.

It snapped a mosaic made up of 11 images, which includes the lander’s solar panel and its entire deck, including its science instruments, weather sensor booms and UHF antenna.

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The lander also sent another set of mosaic composed of 52 individual photos, showcasing the “workspace” — the approximately 14-by-7-foot (4-by-2-metre) crescent of terrain directly in front of the spacecraft, NASA noted.

InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will explore valuable science as NASA prepares to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars.

The spacecraft will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until November 24, 2020. (IANS)

Next Story

Building City on Mars Could Cost up to $10 Trillion: Elon Musk

SpaceX is building “Starship” (formerly known as the BFR), a fully reusable vehicle designed to take humans and supplies to Mars

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Wikimedia Commons

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has not stopped at lofty talks of colonising Mars. He has even estimated the cost of having a self-sustaining civilization on the Red Planet which is “between $100 billion and $10 trillion”.

Musk tweeted his estimates of building a city on Mars in response to a question posed by the Twitter handle @marstronauts.

So according to the estimate by Musk, building a city on Mars could cost anywhere between 10 per cent of the US’ 2019 military budget and three times the the country’s 2018 tax revenue, Futurism.com reported on Tuesday.

Musk calculated the approximate future cost of sending a minimum payload to Mars “to nearest order of magnitude”, at $100,000 per tonne.

Musk, Neuralink, Brain
Not many people know that Tesla Founder and CEO Elon Musk owns a startup called Neuralink that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces. Pixabay

So if building a self-sustaining city on Mars requires a million tonnes of cargo, the cost would be around $100 billion, he calculated.

Musk earlier advocated the need of a “backup” planet.

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Speaking in an interview with Axios in November 2018, Musk said that that there is “70 per cent chance that he will go to Mars”, despite a “good chance” of him not surviving either on the way or after landing.

SpaceX is building “Starship” (formerly known as the BFR), a fully reusable vehicle designed to take humans and supplies to Mars. (IANS)