On the 26th of November, on the sand-covered, orange face of Mars, a lone lander slowly descended onto the red planet.
Lowering through the Martian atmosphere at a speed of about 5.5 kilometres a second, the little NASA-owned space explorer had travelled a long, long way through space – 54.6 million kilometres, to be precise. Named InSight, it is the first ever exploration by NASA to explore under Mars’ crust. InSight landed on its Northern Hemisphere (also known as Elysium Planitia) in the middle of the sol (an extraterrestrial day) where dust storms battered the barren surface to begin a two year study on the planet’s temperature, its pulse and its crust. The $828.8 million project was designed by Denver-based Lockheed Martin and launched from their base in Mars last year and is estimated to return to earth in approximately 700 days.