The InSight spacecraft has sent signals to Earth indicating that its solar panels are open and collecting sunlight on the Martian surface, according to NASA. Mars Odyssey spacecraft, that is currently orbiting the Red Planet, relayed the signals. It was received on Earth at about 7 am IST, the US space agency said in a statement. InSight spacecraft, the first robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the Red Planet, touched down safely on the surface of Mars on Monday.
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Aaah...soaking up the Sun with my solar panels. ðŸŒž After a long flight, and thrilling #MarsLanding, it feels great to get a good stretch and recharge my batteries. (Like, literally.) It’s just what I’ll need to really start getting in tune with #Mars. https://t.co/yse3VEst3G pic.twitter.com/LpsiI0KNNz— NASAInSight (@NASAInSight) November 27, 2018
"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.
"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," Hoffman added.
InSight, the first mission to study the deep interior of Mars, blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California on May 5, 2018.
InSight contains key instruments that were contributed by several European space agencies.
France's Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) made the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, the key element for sensing quakes.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) provided a self-hammering mole that can burrow 16 feet (five meters) into the surface -- further than any instrument before -- to measure heat flow.
Spain's Centro de Astrobiologia made the spacecraft's wind sensors.
Together, these instruments will study geological processes, said Bruce Banerdt, InSight's principal investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
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Unlike the Curiosity rover, Insight won’t be able to move about on Mars. But using a suite of instruments and a seven-foot-long robotic arm, it will drill up to 16 feet below the surface at its landing site, Elysium Planitia, a broad plain that has been called “the biggest parking lot on Mars.”