NASA Spacecraft Landing on Mars

The Mars InSight rover landed safely on mars, after a 205 day journey to the red planet, and it will spend two years researching and sending back information on the red planet. It has been tasked with exploring the geology of the planet and mapping the inside of it. It landed at 2:55 p.m. ET on a patch of barren landscape on Mars. The rover has fan-like arrays, so it can generate energy from the sun. NASA received confirmation that the solar arrays were deployed at 8:30 p.m. EST, about five-and-a-half hours after InSight landed on Mars.

The rover’s arrival has been awaited anxiously by the team at NASA. NASA's InSight project manager, Tom Hoffman, at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said in a statement that 'The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that [they] know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries, 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.”

This is a big step in planet exploration. This is the first time we will be able to see what's under the surface of a planet besides our own. Mars may soon be the most explored and understood planet after Earth. Being able to  see what the surface of a planet looks like is easy, but understanding it as a whole takes a lot more work. We have been able to take photos of planets from flybys, including Mars, and been able to send rovers to survey the surface. Yet, we have never been able to explore a planet below its surface. After over fifty years of research, our understanding of Mars will no longer be only surface-deep.

There has always been talk of the human race one day inhabiting Mars if our own planet becomes uninhabitable. Research has already shown that there was once water on Mars. Rovers also picked up organic molecules in 3 billion years, meaning that there could have been life on the planet long ago. This research is also important because, in the decades to come, we will have this information to use as a factor if humans could survive on the planet.