Strange ‘shiny’ object found on Mars by NASA rover

NASA Mars In Sight lander is sitting in a 'large sandbox' tilted at an angle of about four degrees

Image captured by NASA In Sight lander on Mars. Image by NASA JPL

After analyzing the data coming from Mars, NASA engineers announced at the end of last week that the spacecraft touched down in the designated area, a lava plain they call Elysium Planitia. "The vehicle sits slightly tilted (about 4 degrees) in a shallow dust- and sand-filled impact crater known as a 'hollow, '" NASA said in a statement. Although the reason for this tilt is not entirely known, NASA says it should not prevent the machine from performing its tasks successfully, as it has been created to operate on a surface with an inclination up to 15 degrees. Since making successful landing, InSight has sent several images and telemetry data to the mission team, suggesting that it is functioning as it was created to do.

"We couldn't be happier", said InSight project manager Tom Hoffman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The first pictures from the lander show just a few rocks in the vicinity, more good news since touching down right near a rocky area would have made deployment of the solar arrays and instruments tricky.

And while the Curiosity is busy, at another Mars site, the InSight static robotic geo-seismic detector, which arrived a few days ago, is in its phase of adaptation before starting its own scientific research on the subsoil of the neighboring planet. NASA's Curiosity and Phoenix landers have generated maximum 2,806 Wh and about 1,800 Wh of electrical power in a single Martian day (sol), respectively. InSight will spend two years investigating the interior where the building blocks below the planet's surface recorded its history.

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