NASA engineers celebrated InSight landing with National Football League handshake

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InSight's pressure sensor will monitor atmospheric conditions and detect dust devils - whirling blasts of wind on the planet's surface - from much farther away than in previous missions.

After the InSight mission touched down on the red planet, Green Day revealed its connection to the moment.

Mars' well-preserved interior provides a snapshot of what Earth may have looked like following its formation 4.5 billion years ago, according to Banerdt.

The lander is powered by two solar panels which unfold on landing.

The device, to be placed on the surface by the lander's robot arm, is so sensitive it can measure a seismic wave just one half the radius of a hydrogen atom.

Nearly half of the attempts to land on Mars fail. The remains of a liquid core could suggest that Mars once had a magnetic field.

Tom Hoffman, InSight's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that the InSight team can repose a little untroubled tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are installed and recharging the batteries. InSight will study the interior of Mars and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars.

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There's still quite a lot that needs to happen before the mission can be considered a success. The entry, descent, and landing phases will each emit a slightly different radio frequency, enabling engineers to track InSight's progress.

The Nasa Viking probes of the mid-1970s were equipped with seismometers, too, but they were bolted to the top of the landers, a design that was largely ineffective.

The landing of InSight was also a test for Mars Cube One (MarCO), a flyby of two miniaturized and cheap satellites called CubeSats that were used to relay InSight's telemetry to Earth during the spacecraft's entry, descent and landing, as radio signals directly from InSight to Earth were blocked by Mars itself.

The first data isn't expected until March.

The "Send Your Name to Mars" promotion was launched by NASA in 2015 as a way of generating more public interest in space exploration. The temperature of the planet will be measured while another experiment will try to determine how Mars wobbles on its axis. This will help engineers to assess where to install the spacecraft's scientific instruments, which will be able to start sending back data to Earth within two to three months.

The twin "Cubesats" tagging along for the flight to Mars represented the first deep-space use of a miniature satellite technology that space engineers see as a promising low-priced alternative to some larger, more complex vehicles.