NASA’s InSight just landed on Mars and it has already sent a letter home. Like proud parents eager to share their kid’s achievements at space camp, NASA posted a photo on social media for all the grandparents and cousins and space enthusiasts to see. And, indeed, the little rover has safely landed on the red planet, and is definitely both making friends and on track to win the #1 Mars Camper Award.
NASA’s JPL sent out a press release revealing that InSight sent a letter, too, in the form of signals to Earth; The craft announced that–like any hale and hearty summer camper–it was catching some rays and recharging its batteries. Specifically, its solar panels are open and collecting sunlight on the Martian surface and it will be able to recharge its batteries. That message was relayed to NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, which passed it along to an eager audience back on Earth.
“The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries,” said Tom Hoffman, InSight’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which leads the mission. “It’s been a long day for the team. But tomorrow begins an exciting new chapter for InSight: surface operations and the beginning of the instrument deployment phase.”
Surface operations and instrument deployment are a long way from lanyards and canoeing. Kids these days!
Our Mars Odyssey orbiter phoned home, relaying news from @NASAInSight indicating its solar panels are open & collecting sunlight on the Martian surface. Also in the dispatch: this snapshot from the lander's arm showing the instruments in their new home: https://t.co/WygR5X2Px4 pic.twitter.com/UwzBsu8BNe
— NASA (@NASA) November 27, 2018