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Mars InSight mission: What Nasa's trip to Red Planet aims to discover

Nasa has touched down on Mars for the first time in six years in a mission designed to mine more information about the Red Planet.

 (Current Affairs Digest by Dr Safdar)

 

     

The US space agency's latest probe, InSight, landed on the planet at 7.55pm (UK time), having travelled for six months and 300 million miles.

In an extremely tricky landing, the lander slowed down from 12,300mph to 5mph, the equivalent of human jogging speed, in just seven minutes after hitting Mars's atmosphere.

The mission follows in the footsteps of the Curiosity rover, which landed there in 2012, but the $1bn joint US-European mission will break new ground - literally and metaphorically.

Here's what you need to know about the landmark mission.

 

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Curiosity has been moving around Mars, scouring different areas. InSight, however, will be staying in one place for its two-year mission.

InSight is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. As its lengthy name suggests, its objective is to dig into the planet's interior.

 

 

 

 

On the surface of Mars, its 6-foot (1.8-meter) arm will remove the two main science experiments from the lander's deck and place them directly on the Martian surface. This is already uncharted territory in space exploration.

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