InSight lander gets to Mars and sends pictures

Mars picture
At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., InSight project manager Tom Hoffman reacts to the first image from the Mars InSight lander after its touchdown. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)

REDMOND, Wash. — NASA’s Mars InSight lander touched down on a heavenly Martian plain Monday, marking the first successful landing on the Red Planet in more than six years.

“Touchdown confirmed! InSight is on the surface of Mars,” mission commentator Christine Szalai declared just before noon PT at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Minutes later, the lander sent back its first image, showing a wide expanse of flat terrain as seen through a dirt-flecked lens cover.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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