NASA's InSight Mars rover has successfully landed on the Martian surface. Following "seven minutes of terror," the lander finally touched down on its final destination - Elysium Planitia at 11:52:59 a.m. Pacific Time on 26 November, making Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists break into applause.
After plunging through the thin Martian atmosphere - which is just one per cent of Earth's atmosphere - the lander used its heatshield and a parachute to slow down its speed. Finally, the retro rockets were fired to ensure a smooth landing on the Elysium Planitia.
The entire event was streamed live by NASA.
It was a difficult mission for the American space agency as only 40 per cent of the missions sent to the red planet have been successful.
InSight spacecraft was launched on May 5 from California's Vanderberg Air Force Base, and took about six-and-half months to complete the 485-million-kilometres journey to Mars.
"It was intense and you could feel the emotion", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said after the successful landing.
"There's a reason engineers call landing on Mars 'seven minutes of terror'," said Rob Grover, the lead for InSight's entry, descent and landing team at NASA's JPL.
After touching down on the surface, the probe first waited for the dust to settle and then unfurled its solar panels. It sent back acknowledgement of its safe landing as well as an image of Elysium Planitia - a flat plain - where the rover will spend the next two years carrying out scientific research to reveal new information about the planet's interior.
To look deep into the planet's interior, Insight must sit still for almost entire mission. That's why the flat plain of Elysium Planitia was selected by NASA as the landing site for the mission.
InSight lander carries three instruments on board - a heat probe, a seismometer, and a radio science experiment. The heat probe will allow scientists to measure the temperatures below the Martian surface.
The seismometre will be used to listen for marsquakes and collect data to understand how Mars and other rocky worlds formed.
The radio science experiment will also enable the scientists to determine how much the Mars wobbles as it circles around the Sun.
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