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USA space agency Nasa has landed a new robot on Mars after a dramatic seven-minute plunge to the surface of the Red Planet.

The landing, which took place just before 7:00am AEDT, saw the NASA spacecraft hurtle through the top of Mars' thin atmosphere at 19,795km per hour. The long-awaited landing came with the usual "seven minutes of terror" while signals from Mars crawled back to Earth at the speed of light.

Mission Control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory exploded into celebratory applause and cheers after the touchdown was confirmed.

Of course, the amount of data that a lander can gather is limited, as it's only sitting on one spot on Mars, and it will take some waiting before the mission reveals interesting information.

NASA is the only space agency to have made it, and is invested in these robotic missions as a way to prepare for the first Mars-bound human explorers in the 2030s.

The InSight mission team waited and "watched" for the probe's landing by monitoring InSight's radio signals with radio telescopes on Earth and a variety of spacecraft, according to a NASA statement.

A life-size model of the spaceship Insight, NASA's first robotic lander dedicated to studying the deep interior of Mars, is shown at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, U.S. November 26, 2018.

In 2003, the Beagle II craft disappeared during an attempt to land on the Red Planet and its wreckage was only discovered in 2015.

NASA hopes to use InSight to learn about how rocky planets like Earth and Mars formed.

About 20 minutes before landing, InSight separated from the cruise stage that helped bring it all the way to Mars and turned to position itself for entering the atmosphere.

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As reported by Wired, confirmation of the lander's touchdown was relayed to NASA engineers courtesy of two "briefcase-sized" satellites, dubbed Mars Cube One-A and Mars Cube One-B.

Vice-President Mike Pence called to congratulate the USA space agency for its hard work.

The goal is to map the inside of Mars in three dimensions, "so we understand the inside of Mars as well as we have come to understand the outside of Mars", Banerdt told reporters. InSight followed up its brief hello with an image of the landing site. By using sophisticated geophysical instruments, InSight will address fundamental questions about the formation of Earth-like planets by detecting the fingerprints of those processes buried deep within the interior of Mars, the space agency says.

A second instrument will burrow five metres into the ground of Mars, measuring the planet's temperature, while a third experiment will determine how Mars wobbles on its axis.

"We are solar-powered, so getting the arrays out and operating is a big deal", Hoffman said.

InSight was shooting for Elysium Planitia, a plain near the Martian equator that the InSight team hopes is as flat as a parking lot in Kansas with few, if any, rocks.

InSight's first photo from the martian surface. With this safe landing, I'm here.

InSight's first job is to deploy solar panels, which will be used to keep the machine running while it treks around Mars.

"Every Mars landing is daunting, but now with InSight safely on the surface, we get to do a unique kind of science on Mars", JPL director Michael Watkins said.


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