NASA’s Insight spacecraft begins mission on Mars

World Today

It took six months, a lot of preparation and a little luck. NASA’s Insight spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars Monday.

Soon, it will dig deep into the surface to learn more about the Red Planet and Earth.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy watched the landing from the U.S. state of Colorado.

At Lockheed Martin, the builders of the InSight spacecraft, employees and their families gathered for a Mars landing that’s never automatic. The success rate for such endeavors over the years is just 40 percent.

It’s a complex but risky process where all kinds of things can go wrong. The spacecraft, out of touch with Earth, slowed from 21,000 kilometers per hour when it hit Mars’ atmosphere to zero at the surface, just seven minutes later.

The feat was celebrated in Colorado and at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. The lab was in charge of the mission that began six months and nearly 500 million kilometers ago. With the landing complete, attention now turns to the science that the three-legged geologist will perform.

It’s a very different kind of Mars mission. The focus over the next two Earth years won’t be on the surface of the planet, so much as what lies deep inside.

Information gathered during this mission could be useful when humans travel to the planet in the future. However, i will take several months for the spacecraft to deploy its science instruments.