Within minutes of landing on its new home, InSight sent back its first photo.
NASA's InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) investigation lucratively accomplished its soft landing on Mars after a six month 300 million mile journey.
The dramatic arrival of the $993 million spacecraft - created to listen for quakes and tremors as a way to unveil the Red Planet's inner mysteries, how it formed billions of years ago and, by extension, how other rocky planets like Earth took shape - marked the eighth successful landing on Mars in NASA's history.
One of its first tasks is to deploy its two decagonal solar arrays, which will provide power. The self-hammering mole will burrow 16 feet (5 meters) down to measure the planet's internal heat, while the seismometer listens for possible quakes. InSight's actual landing on Mars is hard, and it's critical that it is completed perfectly.
By examining the interior of Mars, scientists hope to understand how our solar system's rocky planets formed 4.5 billion years ago and why they turned out so different - Mars cold and dry, Venus and Mercury burning hot, and Earth hospitable to life.
Minutes later, JPL controllers received a fuzzy "selfie" photograph of the probe's new surroundings on the Red Planet, showing the edge of one lander leg beside a rock. The dispatch that included the first clear photo of Mars from the mission were relayed to Earth by the Mars Odyssey orbiter.
The InSight team expects a confirmation later Monday that the spacecraft's solar panels successfully deployed.
At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory control room in California, engineers jumped, wept and hugged as the data was transmitted back to Earth - on an eight-minute delay.
"Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in his statement. "This was an incredible, fantastic day", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
'InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. While surveying the landing site during the planning phase of InSight's mission, scientists studied the ejecta from small impact craters scattered across Elysium Planitia.
Altogether, InSight's instruments and observations aim to reveal key information about how warm and geologically active Mars is.
Over the next two years, we will learn a lot more about Mars and hopefully find answers to such questions as if there are any signs of past life or if Mars now has any liquid water.