MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on November 26, 2018.
And late Monday, mission scientists were able to confirm that the spacecraft's twin 7-foot-wide solar arrays have unfurled.
InSight launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 5 and landed yesterday at around 12 noon PST, near Mars' equator. The satellite - has been named as cubesat - and the photo is named as MarCO-B and it performed quite the service for humanity before saying goodbye to Mars.
The MarCO satellites are the first cubesats to travel to deep space, and their success shows that they probably won't be the last. "Within two or three months, the arm will deploy the mission's main science instruments, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) and Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP) instruments".
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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the former USA representative from Tulsa, said InSight's successful arrival "represents the ingenuity of America and our global partners, and serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team". The seismometer will be used to measure "marsquakes" and learn about the interior of Mars. "They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as "tag-alongs" on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing".
On Nov. 26, the MarCo's softball-sized radios kicked on and began transmitting information from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the planet since 2006.
"CubeSats have incredible potential to carry cameras and science instruments out to deep space", said in a statement John Baker, JPL's program manager for small spacecraft. That atmosphere causes interference to change the signal when it's received on Earth, a way for scientists to detect how much atmosphere is present and even its composition.
"They'll never replace the more capable spacecraft NASA is best known for developing". "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface". And unlike the moon landing, they completed the most hard part of the mission - the speedy descent through the atmosphere, the deployment of parachute and lander legs and the eventual landing on the surface of Mars - all with their hands off the controls. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.