NASA InSight lands on Mars for 2-year geological study

NASA has announced that its robotic InSight Mars lander has touched down on Mars following a nearly seven-month, 300-million mile journey from Earth, the administration said.

The lander uses Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander and will spend two years on Mars, studying the deep interior of the planet to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

InSight launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California May 5. The lander touched down Monday, Nov. 26, near Mars´ equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia, with a signal affirming a completed landing sequence at approximately noon PST (3 p.m. EST).

InSight will begin to collect science data within the first week after landing, though the teams will focus mainly on preparing to set InSight´s instruments on the Martian ground.

With InSight´s landing at Elysium Planitia, NASA has successfully soft-landed a vehicle on the Red Planet eight times.

A number of European partners, including France´s Centre National d´Ã‰tudes Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission.