NASA InSight robot lander's amazing first images from Mars


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And we still can’t make voting machines or self-checkout registers that often enough work correctly.


Looks like it landed in the Mojave, yep it’s a conspiracy theory.


Project Insight? Uh-oh.



As grim as the news has been, Ive kinda forgotten what it was like to feel unalloyed joy. Watching these folk during the landing was the most fun Ive had all year.

It has me reflecting again on the message sent to Apollo 8: “Thanks for saving 1968”. Its kinda how I feel about Insight in 2018.


Dang I used to hate it when I forget to take off the lenscap before taking a picture.

eta: actually both photos are with the lens covers still on, the top one just doesn’t have as much smutz on it, maybe because it was sheltered by the solar arrays from the worst of the landing dust?


The russian Venera probes on Venus had a good track record of failing to release the lens cap. In one case the cap separated successfully but fell right underneath the target area for the terrain probe.



Nice dunes.


maybe it’s because i vaguely remember the moon landings, but i seriously get emotional trying to wrap my head around the reality that these images are coming from an entire OTHER PLANET. it’s so wonderful and inspiring.


It’s all fun and games until someone sticks a drill in the neck of a Shadow Battlecrab.


Lens covers are a necessary evil. you don’t want your hundred million dollar lander to have globs of dirt on its lens, but that means your initial pictures look pretty awful and if the cover fails to pop off, then you’re Venera 11. Fortunately NASA has learned from the problems the Venera probes had and uses transparent lens caps these days.


Deploy the mole!


I have a horrible picture of the mole starting out okay, then curving around and coming right back out of the ground two metres away.

Or possibly, hitting solid ice a metre down.


why is there on really good picture and two shitty ones? why is the good one the main photo if the shitty one is the first?


The shitty photo was first. It was taken right after the landing to get a quick image. Nothing more. I only see two photos in the article. The good photo had to wait for a mars orbiting satellite to pass over the landing site and relay data to Earth.

You know, Mars has its own satellite communication system and its only used by robots.


maybe one day they’ll invent a robot to clean lenses


They did. It just pops the lens cap off. If the environment was particularly dirty, I could imagine having multiple tear off lens caps and removing them as required.

Its not a bad photo when you considered what that camera went through to get to Mars.




Seriously, though, these things usually have a robot arm. I have often thought “Would it hurt to have some duster tool, so you can clean lenses, sweep the solar panels, and clean crud away from any ports used to sample soil?” It would not replace the lens cap, which is probably protecting against serious damage during landing, but it would be handy.