NASA’s latest spacecraft, the InSight Lander, is comfortably settling into life on Mars by recharging its batteries and taking stunning photos. This robotic mining device will eventually dig into the surface of the red planet, and to begin the process, it opened its solar panels on schedule Monday night. It’s scheduled to begin operations on the Martian surface and start deploying instruments over the next few days, while its mechanical arm continues to take pictures of the surface so JPL engineers can use to decide where to place the instruments. Read more for another video and additional information.
The InSight’s two solar panels each measure seven feet wide, and provide 600 to 700 watts on a clear day, or the amount needed to power a home blender, which is ample to operate the instruments.
“The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries. NASA’s InSight has sent signals to Earth indicating that its solar panels are open and collecting sunlight on the Martian surface. NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter relayed the signals, which were received on Earth at about 5:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. EST),” according to a NASA press release.