Using a camera mounted on a robotic arm, NASA InSight probe which recently landed on Mars took its first selfie on the red planet, showing its entire deck, solar panels and some of the Martian landscape.
NASA’s InSight lander touched down successfully on Mars on November 26, and has been sending a lot of “firsts” back to Earth. Last week, the lander sent first-ever audible recordings of winds on the red planet and, on Wednesday, NASA received its first selfie from Mars. The camera used by InSight to take the picture was the same used during the Curiosity rover mission that uses multiple snippets that are overlapped and stitched together to render a single full-size image. NASA said that the selfie is a mosaic of as many as 11 images that are stitched together to form the full image.
The picture shows the lander’s full deck including its science instruments, weather sensor booms, UHF antenna, solar panels and some of the red unworldly ground. Along with the selfie, InSight has also sent a sent another set of mosaic composed of 52 individual photos that will showcase the full-view of the probe’s “workspace”. This picture also shows a 4-by-2-metre wide crescent of the surrounding terrains that also shows instruments including the seismometer and heat-flow probe.
InSight’s workspace in NASA/JPL-Caltech (Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech)
A closer looks into the images shows that the area in Elysium Planitia, deliberately chosen by InSight to land on, has almost no hills, rocks or holes. This might seem like a very plain terrain, but it means it is safe for all instruments to function without being obstructed by such objects. In coming weeks, the ground teams of the space agency will go through the core challenge that InSight is developed for – boring down into the surface of Mars and go as deep as 5 metres below the surface for the first time ever.