Touchdown! NASA InSight Has Landed On Mars
After a seven-month journey, NASA's InSight spacecraft has finally touched down on Mars.
The spacecraft landed on the Elysium Planitia, at about 7am (AEST) on Tuesday morning.
Within minutes of landing on its new home, InSight sent back its first photo.
It is located about 600km away from its cousin the Curiosity Rover, which has been on the planet since 2012.
InSight, or Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Invesigations, Geogesy and Heat Transport spacecraft, is set to shed new light on the fourth rock from the Sun.
It will be the first mission to study the deep interiors of Mars -- detecting "marsquakes" and meteor impacts in a bid to unlock the planet's beneath-surface secrets.
The robot will spend 24 months, which is the equivalent of about one Martian year, using seismic monitoring and underground drilling to observe seismic waves bouncing around the planet.
This analysis will by provide an understanding of what the internal structure of Mars looks like, and in turn, an understanding of how it was formed. By extension, this will help to explain the origins of Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system.
Researchers expect to see between a dozen and 100 marsquakes during the mission, using a highly sensitive siesmomenter built by the French.
InSight launched from California on May 5 and enjoyed a pleasantly uneventful flight to Mars, just how engineers like it. Only about 40 percent of missions sent to Mars have been successful.