NASA’s InSight Probe Deploys Solar Panels To Recharge; Starts Relaying Data, Pictures From Mars
NASA’s InSight Probe Deploys Solar Panels To Recharge; Starts Relaying Data, Pictures From MarsNASA’s InSight spacecraft deploying its solar panels (@NASAInSight/Twitter)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) InSight spacecraft which successfully landed on the surface of Mars has sent back its first signals and image from the red planet according to the space agency’s statement.

This indicates that the solar panels of the spacecraft are collecting sunlight. The signals from InSight were relayed from NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter.

"The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries," said InSight's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Tom Hoffman.

InSight's twin solar arrays are each 7 feet (2.2 meters) wide. Mars has weaker sunlight than Earth as it is farther away from the Sun. These panels provide 600 to 700 watts on a clear day. This is enough to power all the instruments on InSight to function normally. The panels can generate least 200 to 300 watts even when it is covered by dust (which is a common phenomenon on Mars).

InSight's robotic arm will be used to snap photos of the ground. These images will be used to decide the location of the spacecraft's scientific instruments. Two or three months are required to complete the experimental setup.

In the meantime, InSight will use its magnetometer and weather sensors to take readings from its landing site at Elysium Planitia on Mars.

Also Read: Touchdown On Mars: NASA’s InSight Probe Lands On Red Planet, To Become The First To Explore Its Deep Interiors

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