Insight’s first image of Mars. NASA.
NASA’s InSight lander reached Mars yesterday. It’s the seventh successful landed mission, and it’s the latest in our continuous presence on the red planet since 1997. Yup, we’ve had a rover or a lander doing science on Mars non stop for over 20 years! But landers like InSight don’t get enough love. They seem less exciting than their roving cousins, but these stationary missions have done some really incredible science. Regardless of the goal of a mission, though, every lander has had a camera on board to show us details of a new part of Mars.
I don’t care how many pictures of Mars I look at, there’s always something amazing about the first picture from a mission. That camera is on a spacecraft that survived a violent launch, a two-year trip through space spanning some 30 million miles, and a fall through the Martian atmosphere. After all that it still managed to turn on and show us what it can see within minutes of reaching the surface. It’s incredible. So let’s take a quick look at the first views of past landers.
The first ever image of the surface of Mars seen ...