The INCREDIBLE first selfies of the NASA Mars spacecraft InSight reveal a smooth, rocky terrain.
The snapshots were sent after the scientists had been waiting in suspense during the "7 minutes of terror" probe on the Red Planet.
By examining and mapping inside Mars, scientists hope to understand why the rocky planets of our solar system have proved so different and why Earth has become a refuge for life.
Rising 548 million km (301 million miles) from Earth, the robot has traveled nearly seven months by road and plunged into a dramatic fall as it reached the red planet at 7:50 pm Monday. .
The control of NASA's mission in California has been bursting with joy after the arrival of InSight safely.
The last seven minutes were particularly tense as the craft sailed in the thin Martian atmosphere, which caused little friction to slow down.
Project leader Tom Hoffman said the probe had landed close to the target, but NASA had not yet obtained the final calculations.
He said that it was hard to say on the first photo if there were any nearby slopes, but it seems that he got the "parking lot" flat and smooth that he hoped.
Because of the distance between Earth and Mars, it took eight minutes for the confirmation to arrive, relayed by a pair of tiny satellites that followed InSight.
Both satellites not only delivered the good news almost in real time, but they also sent the first InSight snapshot back to Mars, just four minutes after landing.
The photo was covered with dust because the dust cover was still visible on the LG camera, but the terrain around the probe was smooth and sandy and only allowed one to appear rock, which was about what the scientists had hoped for.
Better photos are expected in the coming days, after removing the dust covers.
Rob Manning, chief engineer of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, described the landing as "perfect, that's what we really hoped for and imagined in our mind, and sometimes things work in your favor."
This was the eighth successful landing of NASA on Mars since the 1976 Viking probes, and the first for six years.
The NASA Curiosity rover, which arrived in 2012, is still moving on Mars.
Trustee Jim Bridenstine, who chairs his first landing of the Red Planet as the boss of the space agency, said: "What an amazing day for our country."
Seven hours after touchdown, the agency announced that InSight 's vital solar panels were open and recharging its batteries.
During the next 24-hour and 39-minute "soils" or Martian days, Flight Controllers will also evaluate the health of InSight's very important robotic arm and its scientific instruments.
Three seismometer instruments made in the United Kingdom are on board the spacecraft, as part of a British Space Agency effort to measure the "marsquakes" on the planet.
Sue Horne, head of space exploration at the British Space Agency, said: "It's great news that the InSight spacecraft has landed safely on Mars.
"The British scientists and engineers involved in this mission have spent many years of their life building the seismometer and the descent is still a worrying time.
"We can now look forward to the deployment of the instrument and the data that will arrive for the New Year to enhance our understanding of the formation of the planet."
The robot will be the first probe to focus solely on understanding the inside of Mars, from its core to its crust.
A second instrument will dig five meters into Mars's soil, measuring the temperature of the planet, while a third experiment will determine how Mars is wobbling on its axis.
The descent of InSight to the surface was slowed down by atmospheric frictions, a giant parachute and retro rockets. When he finally landed 6 and a half minutes later, he was driving at only 5 mph (8 km / h).
The stationary probe, launched from California in May, then stopped for 16 minutes to allow dust to settle around the landing site before its disk-shaped solar panels unfolded to provide of energy.
The location in the Elysium Planitia region north of its equator has been described as an ideal location for its flat surface and without rocks.
It is 600 km from the 2012 landing site of Curiosity, the last spacecraft the size of a car, the last spacecraft sent to the red planet by NASA.
The smallest, 360 kg (880 lbs) InSight – its name is an abbreviation for indoor exploration using seismic surveys, geodesy and heat transport – marks the 21st Martian exploration launched in the United States, including Mariner flyby missions in the 1960s. Nearly two dozen other missions on Mars were sent by other countries.
This two-year, £ 633 million mission aims to shed new light on the formation of the red planet and its deep structure by mapping its core, crust and mantle.
To do this, the sensor is equipped with sensors and powerful equipment to collect data.
There are solar panels the size of ping-pong tables and a five-foot robotic arm with striking fingers.
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LIFE ON MARCH
When did Mars Mars probe NASA probe InSight and what do they hope to find?
InSight also has a thermometer nicknamed "The Mole", which will burrow 16 feet below the Martian surface to take underground temperature readings.
The LG is also equipped with wind and heat sensors, which help run the heat and wind shields – to protect against damage.
Only 40% of the missions on the planet have succeeded and all have been led by the United States.
Do you think you will have the chance to visit Mars someday? Let us know in the comments!
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