NASA’s Mars lander stops off to take selfie using its long robotic arm

NASA’s Mars lander stops off to take selfie using its long robotic arm

In typical millennial fashion, the first thing NASA’s new Mars Lander has done after arriving on Mars is to stop off for a selfie.

Thankfully, the 360-kilo robot actually came armed with a selfie stick (it’s own long robotic arm).

The InSight lander used the arm to snapped a series of pictures that NASA turned into a stunning mosaic released this week.

Looking good there Insight (NASA)

InSight landed in November on a mission to study the inside of Mars in order to more about how it formed and understand the processes which led to the birth of all the planets in our solar system.

The lander’s instruments include a seismometer to detect ‘Marsquakes’ and a probe to monitor the flow of heat beneath the surface of the planet.

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In the two weeks since it landed, scientists are thrilled to find the area in front of the spacecraft pretty much free of rocks, hills and holes.

That should make it a safe place for InSight’s two geology experiments, which will be moved to the ground in the coming weeks.

In this image obtained from NASA, InSight's robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft's deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background. The color-calibrated picture was acquired on December 4, 2018 - Humans can now hear the haunting, low rumble of wind on Mars for the first time, after NASA's InSight lander captured vibrations from the breeze on the Red Planet, the US space agency said on December 7, 2018. The strong gusts of wind, blowing between 10 to 15 mph (five to seven meters a second), were captured as they moved over the solar panels on InSight, an unmanned lander that touched down on Earth's dusty, desolate neighbor November 26. (Photo by HO / NASA/JPL-CALTECH / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT

It’s a fine-looking robot, we have to admit (NASA)

Lead scientist Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the red sandy expanse might seem ‘pretty plain’ – if it weren’t on Mars.

He said, ‘We’re glad to see that.’

Last week, the Nasa InSight lander captured a ‘haunting, low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind’, which is the only audio that’s ever been heard from the Red Planet.

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These vibrations were detected by an ultra-sensitive seismometer developed in the UK and an air pressure sensor sitting on the lander’s deck.

Sue Horne, head of space exploration at the UK Space Agency, said: ‘This is brilliant news because it means we know the sensors have survived the rigours of landing on Mars and are meeting the requirements to achieve their science goals.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/ZUMA Wire/REX (9993553c) An artist's impression of Nasa's InSight lander about to touch down on Mars. The InSight lander has landed successfully. InSight probe spacecraft lands on Mars - 26 Nov 2018

Artist’s impression of the Nasa Insight Mars lander

‘It is just amazing to hear the first ever sounds from Mars.’

The exploration robots used sensors to pick up vibrations from InSight’s solar panels, meaning the whole spacecraft acts like a giant microphone, said InSight science team member Professor Tom Pike of Imperial College London.

‘The solar panels on the lander’s sides are perfect acoustic receivers,’ Prof Pike said.

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