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These initial images are grainy because the dust shields haven't been removed from the camera lenses yet. One of its first tasks is to deploy its two decagonal solar arrays, which will provide power.

"We hit the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph (19,800 kilometers per hour), and the whole sequence to touching down on the surface took only six-and-a-half minutes", InSight project manager Tom Hoffman at JPL said.

The landing of InSight was also a test for Mars Cube One (MarCO), a flyby of two miniaturized and affordable satellites called CubeSats that were used to relay InSight's telemetry to Earth during the spacecraft's entry, descent and landing, as radio signals directly from InSight to Earth were blocked by Mars itself. At least two days after touchdown, the engineering team will begin to deploy InSight's 5.9-foot-long (1.8-meter-long) robotic arm so that it can take images of the landscape. This will help mission scientists determine where its will place instruments.

"MarCO-A and B are our first and second interplanetary CubeSats created to monitor InSight for a short period around landing, if the MarCO pair makes it to Mars", Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary science division, said in a statement.

By doing this the HFPPP will be able to give unique data about the planet's interior and how it evolved through time.

Like every mission to Mars, InSight would not have been possible without a high level of meticulously planned global coordination involving hundreds of researchers and engineers.

Together, the instruments will study geological processes, said Bruce Banerdt, InSight's principal investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This is a self-hammering nail that will drill into the surface of Mars.

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The first data isn't expected until March. Provided that everything goes correctly, the lander will touch down just north of the planet's equator, Elysium Planitia.

InSight's pressure sensor will monitor atmospheric conditions and detect dust devils - whirling blasts of wind on the planet's surface - from much farther away than in previous missions. "Ultimately, this will contribute to the knowledge of how all rocky planets formed".

"It was nearly hard to believe this wasn't written by some Hollywood writer to put the flawless amount of delay in there - so that everybody sat on the edge of their seat".

That was no easy feat with InSight's landing.

These CubeSats are known as Mars Cube One satellites or MarCO CubeSats (individually called MarCO-A and MarCO-B and nicknamed "EVE" and "WALL-E" from the Pixar film "Wall-E"). And their mission is over.

"I'm embedded in meetings pretty much all day, as we go over the technical details", said Banfield. "They are a demonstration of potential future capability".

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