NASA InSight Lander introduced its first instrument to the surface of Mars, marking for the first time that a seismometer was placed on the surface of another planet.
New landing figures showed a seismometer on the ground, and its copper lid is lightly lit on Mars's sunset, claims the InSight team on Thursday.
"InSight's inventory on Mars has gone better than we expected," said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman, who works at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
"Making a seismometer on the ground is a wonderful Christmas present," he said.
The InSight team worked carefully to apply his two scientific instruments dedicated to the Martian soil since landing on Mars on November 26th. In addition to the seismometer, also known as Seismic Internal Structure Experiment (SEIS), the second is a heat probe, known as physical properties and a probe of heat flow (HP3).
In the meantime, the Rotation and Internal Structure Experiment (RISE), which does not have its own special instrument, has already begun to use the InSight radio link to Earth to collect preliminary data on the core of the planet, the team said. InSight
In order to ensure the successful use of the instruments, engineers had to check whether the robotic arm that collects and puts InSight instruments on the surface of Mars works properly.
They also had to analyze the images of Mars around the modules to find the best places to use the instruments, the team said.
InSight engineers sent orders to the spacecraft on Tuesday, and the seismometer was gently placed on the ground by an anchor on Wednesday, the team said.
"The implementation of a seismometer is as important as landing on Mars," said InSight chief researcher Bruce Banerdt.
"Seismometer is an instrument of highest priority in InSight, we need to complete about three quarters of our scientific goals," he said.
Seismometer allows scientists to observe the interior of Mars by studying soil movements, also known as Marcus. Analyzing how seismic waves pass through layers of the planet, scientists can conclude the depth and composition of these layers.
In the next few days, the InSight team will work on the leveling of the seismometer. The first scientific data from the seismometer will return to Earth after the seismometer is in the right position, said the team.
The heat probe is programmed to be placed on the surface of Mars at the end of January, on the east side of the workspace, according to the team.
InSight had safely landed on Mars on November 26, launching a two-year mission to explore the deeper interior of the Red Planet.