NASA’s InSight lander has officially touched down on Mars

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In 2016, the European Schiaparelli lander, the only spacecraft to attempt to land on the planet since the Curiosity Rover, crashed and burned.

InSight is set to be the first probe sent to investigate the interior of Mars.

The picture provided proof of activity from the lander after a seven-month journey to the red planet capped by "six and a half minutes of terror" as it plunged through the Martian atmosphere, enduring temperatures up to 1,648C (3,000F), brutal gravitational forces and complex engineering challenges. "It's such a hard thing, it's such a risky thing that there's always a fairly uncomfortably large chance that something could go wrong". Almost 2 dozen other Mars missions have been sent from other nations.

The U.S., however, has pulled off seven successful Mars landings in the past four decades, not counting InSight, with only one failed touchdown. But the quick look at the surroundings showed a flat surface with few if any rocks - just what scientists were hoping for.

This probe will then drill down into the ground and listen for 'Marsquakes.

NASA's InSight Mars lander captured this view of its surroundings shortly after touching down on the Red Planet on November 26, 2018. And today we really don't know if the core of Mars is liquid or solid, and how big that core is. Directly measuring the flow of this heat in modern Mars will help alleviate some huge uncertainties in planetary formation models.

NASA missions have established that billions of years ago the planet was warmer and wetter, more conducive conditions for life.

This tool contains a short period seismometer built by Imperial College, Oxford University and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. MarCO will try to share data about InSight when it enters the Martian atmosphere for the landing. "Wwe are well on our way to thoroughly investigate what's inside of Mars for the very first time". Messages sent by the lander confirmed that all of the craft's systems were functioning "nominally" shortly after its landing.

Sue Horne, head of space exploration at the UK Space Agency, told Metro UK she'll be watching with bated breath.

"I'm excited about getting a good view of the interior", she said.

'The success rate of Mars landings isn't brilliant.

The lander safely touched down on its dusty landing site of Elysium Planitia, near the Red Planet's equator, a region scientists refer to as "vanilla"-not because it is boring per se but because it is flat and free of rocky obstacles that could damage the lander". This spot is open, flat safe and boring, which is what the scientists want for a stationary two-year mission.

NASA said: "Each marsquake would be like a flashbulb that illuminates the structure of the planet's interior".

The experiments will also help us understand if Mars is volcanically active. "We can take a smaller, focused, more riskier mission out into the solar system and take advantage of new opportunities".

Assuming the heat flow probe deploys successfully, the measurements it makes could transform our understanding not only of how Mars evolved, but also how other rocky planets, like Earth, came to be.

Apollo missions to the moon brought seismometers to the lunar surface as well.