NASA’s InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) probe successfully completed its soft landing on Mars on Monday after a six-month, 480 million kilometer (300 million miles) journey.


InSight is already sending back photos of the desolate planet from its landing site on the Elysium Planitia. The lander’s official Twitter feed reads, “There’s a quiet beauty here. Looking forward to exploring my new home.”

The InSight probe has deployed its two decagonal solar arrays, which span 2.15 m (7.1 ft) each and provide it with operational power supply. Its mission objectives are to provide insights into how rocky planets like Mars form and evolve over time, study the deep interior of Mars.

It will determine if there is any seismic activity, measure the rate of heat flow from the interior, estimate the size of Mars’ core and whether the core is liquid or solid. Measuring crust thickness, mantle viscosity, core radius, and density, and seismic activity

It is equipped with instruments including a seismometer, a burrowing heat probe, and radio science gear. The “self-hammering nail” is nicknamed “the mole” and was designed to burrow as deep as 5 m (16 ft) below the Martian surface while trailing a tether.