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InSight lander touches down on the Red Planet



It was due to unfurl its solar panels within hours of the landing.

Over the next three months, Insight will deploy instruments designed to test under the Martian surface before it begins to collect information about the planet's deep structure.

Three of these instruments were designed and built by engineers at Imperial College and Oxford University and will listen to "Marsquakes" which could suggest the likelihood of a previous life on the planet.

Over the course of two years, scientists expect to detect between dozen and 100 of the tremors, which could range up to six on the Richter scale.

If successful, the three-legged probe, which launched from California on May 5, will help scientists learn about how rocky worlds like Earth and Moon formed more than 4.5 billion years ago.

The remains of a liquid core could suggest that Mars once had a magnetic field that would have protected it from harmful solar winds billions of years ago in a time when the planet was warmer and wetter and may have been able to harbor early life.

The UK Space Agency has invested £ 4 million in the probe's short seismometer (SEIS-SP).


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