Mars InSight Lander Seen in First Images from Space – Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Mars InSight Lander Seen in First Images from Space – Jet Propulsion Laboratory

On Nov. 26,
NASA’s InSight mission knew the spacecraft touched down within an 81-mile-long
(130-kilometer-long) landing ellipse on Mars. Now, the team has pinpointed
InSight’s exact location using images from HiRISE, a powerful camera onboard
another NASA spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The InSight
lander, its heat shield and parachute were spotted by
HiRISE
(which stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment)
in one set of images last week on Dec. 6, and again on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The
lander, heat shield and parachute are within 1,000 feet (several hundred meters)
of one another on Elysium Planitia, the flat lava plain selected as InSight’s
landing location.

Mars


NASA’s InSight lander on the surface of Mars imaged by the HiRISE camera onboard

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona


Full image and caption

Mars


NASA’s InSight parachute on the surface of Mars imaged by the HiRISE camera onboard

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona


Full image and caption

Mars


NASA’s InSight heat shield on the surface of Mars imaged by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona


Full image and caption

This isn’t
the first time HiRISE has photographed a Mars lander. InSight is based largely on
2008’s Phoenix spacecraft, which the camera aboard MRO captured on
the surface of Mars
as well as descending on its
parachute
. While the HiRISE team at the University of Arizona also
tried to take an image of InSight during landing, MRO was at a much less
opportune angle and wasn’t able to take a good picture.

About InSight

JPL manages InSight for NASA’s
Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed
by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed
Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage
and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.

A number of European partners,
including France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German
Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES and the Institut
de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) provided the Seismic Experiment for
Interior Structure (SEIS)
instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for
Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH)
in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom,
and JPL. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3)
instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK)
of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain’s Centro de
Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.

The University
of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace &
Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colorado. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a
division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

News Media Contact

Andrew Good

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

818-393-2433

andrew.c.good@jpl.nasa.gov

2018-288

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