NASA's InSight probe has landed on Mars

Touchdown: NASA's InSight Lands on Mars (VIDEO)

It means that the two-year mission to study the inside of Mars - formally called Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport - is a go. It launched May 5.

The 800-pound (360-kilogram) InSight is stationary and will operate from the same spot for the next two years, the duration of a Martian year.

InSight's two-year mission will be to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

Bridenstine also said Vice President Mike Pence called to congratulate the United States space agency for its hard work.

It was NASA's eighth successful Mars landing since the 1976 Vikings.

NASA's InSight lander completed its seven-month interplanetary journey of almost 500 million kilometers in dramatic style on Monday, slamming into the Martian atmosphere at a speed of almost 20,000 kilometers per hour.

"While most of the country was enjoying Thanksgiving with their family and friends, the InSight team was busy making the final preparations for Monday's landing", said Tom Hoffman of JPL, InSight's project manager. The Mars Cube One satellites, known as MarCOs for short, locked onto the spacecraft before it entered the Martian atmosphere and continuously relayed information back to mission control.

Although NASA emphasized the experimental nature of the cubesats prior to the landing, the MarCO spacecraft performed as intended, receiving the UHF telemetry from InSight during its entry, descent and landing phase and rebroadcasting it at X-band frequencies received by NASA's Deep Space Network.

But as expected, the dust kicked up during the landing obscured the first picture InSight sent back, which was heavily flecked.

Touchdown: NASA's InSight Lands on Mars (VIDEO)
Mars InSight mission: What Nasa's trip to Red Planet aims to discover

NASA's science chief, Thomas Zurbuchen said previously: "As humanity, as explorers - we're batting at less than 50 percent".

Settling In InSight's first few days on the Red Planet won't be as eventful as the probe's nerve-wracking descent and landing. While it'll be some time before that happens, space enthusiasts have something to analyze in the interim: InSight's first photograph of Mars, which can be seen below.

The heat shield soared to a temperature of 2,700 Fahrenheit (about 1,500 Celsius) before it was discarded, the three landing legs deployed and the parachute popped out, easing InSight down to the Martian surface.

Just before 3 p.m. ET, InSight sent a signal to let scientists on Earth know that it's alive and well.

Horne said the mission could even bring us one step closer towards answering the question of whether aliens exist somewhere out there in the universe.

And the third experiment will use radio transmissions to very precisely determine how the planet is wobbling on its axis. It's a look at Mars scientists have never had before.

'It will also be useful in allowing us to understand how many planets in other star systems there might be which could have the right conditions to support life, ' she said.

"MarCO was there to relay information back from InSight in real time, and we did that extraordinarily well", said Andy Klesh, MarCO chief engineer, at a press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory here November 26 two hours after the InSight landing.

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