Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 27 (ANI): NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter relayed signals that the InSight lander has successfully deployed its solar panels upon landing on the red planet, ensuring that the lander recharges its batteries for surface operations.
Our Mars Odyssey orbiter phoned home, relaying news from @NASAInSight indicating its solar panels are open & collecting sunlight on the Martian surface. Also in the dispatch: this snapshot from the lander's arm showing the instruments in their new home: https://t.co/WygR5X2Px4 pic.twitter.com/UwzBsu8BNe— NASA (@NASA) November 27, 2018
"The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries," Tom Hoffman, InSight's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California stated.
NASA further quoted Hoffman as saying, "It's been a long day for the team. But tomorrow begins an exciting new chapter for InSight: surface operations and the beginning of the instrument deployment phase."
The solar panels are designed to provide 600 to 700 watts on a clear day, enough to sustain the tools which will aid in studying the inner workings of Mars. The panels will produce at least 200 to 300 watts even during dusty conditions on the planet.
The solar arrays are around seven feet wide and are an upgraded version of those used with NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. The changes will ensure that operations are supported for one full Mars year which is equivalent to two Earth years.
Moving forward, the team will now deploy the lander's robotic arm and utilise the attached camera to click pictures of its surroundings.
The team of engineers will then decide where to place scientific instruments which will be fully functional in two or three months.
The InSight lander, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, successfully became the eighth Mars landing for the USA on Monday night (local time; around 1 a.m. of November 27 IST). (ANI)