The InSight probe aims to study the world’s deep interior, and make it the only planet – apart from Earth – that has been examined in this way.
Confirmation of touchdown came through at about last night . It ended an anxious wait in which the robot radioed home a series of updates on its descent.
Nasa’s mission control at California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) erupted into cheers when it became clear InSight was safe on the ground.
The agency’s chief administrator, James Bridenstine, celebrated what he called “an amazing day”. President Trump had rung to offer hiscongratulations, he told reporters. And the director of JPL, Mike
Watkins, said the success should remind everyone that “to do science we have to be bold and we have to be explorers.”
InSight is now sitting on a vast, flat plain known as Elysium Planetia close to the Red Planet’s equator. Before landing, Nasa had dubbed it the “biggest parking lot on Mars”.