NASA broke its dry spell on Monday, achieving its first Mars landing in more than six years.
Continue Reading Below
The InSight Lander entered Mars’ atmosphere at 2:40 p.m. ET and touched down at approximately 2:54 p.m. ET.
In the harrowing minutes between its entry and landing, the spacecraft had to slow from more than 12,000 mph to just five mph, employing rockets and parachutes to cut the speed.
InSight is equipped with a seismometer and various instruments to study the interior of Mars, part of NASA’s long-term goal of eventually sending humans to the Red Planet.
NASA’s initial budget for the project was $675 million, but a two-year delay, which involved a redesign of the instruments aboard InSight, added an extra $150 million in expenses, bringing the total cost to about $830 million, according to a NASA news release.
Despite the additional expenses incurred by the delay, InSight cost only a fraction of what NASA’s previous Mars landing, Curiosity, cost at roughly $2.5 billion.