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InSight Takes Snapshot Of The Sunrise And Sunset On Mars

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NASA's InSight gifted Earth with new images from Mars. This time, it's sunrise and sunset on the Red Planet.

The lander captured these images between April 24 and 25 via a camera attached to its robotic arm. By then, the lander has already been on the planet for 145 Martian days.

It took the shots at different local or Mars times: one at 5:30 a.m. and another at 6:30 p.m. Another camera found on the deck captured the movements of the clouds during the sunset.

NASA then provided two versions of these photos. The raw images will allow them to see more details about the planet during these events easily.

The color-corrected pictures, meanwhile, will benefit humans as they can see the sunrise and sunset as they normally perceive them.

In both photos, however, the sun may only be about 67 percent than when seen from Earth. It's because the giant star is farther away from the Red Planet.

The sun's color when it sets is also different in Mars since it's blue. The dust particles in the planet's atmosphere are large enough to accommodate it compared to other colors present in light.

Not The First Time

This isn't the first time a NASA spacecraft captured photos of the sunrise and sunset on the planet. Previous Viking landers already did it back in the 1970s. The more recent missions such as Spirit and Opportunity did it as well.

Curiosity rover provided something better in early April when it spotted two solar eclipses in Mars. Why did it snap photos then?

"It's been a tradition for Mars missions to capture sunrises and sunsets," said Justin Maki, NASA's imagine lead at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

It already took practice shots of the same events on the early weeks of March.

Eyes On The Mission

Taking photos is just a part of the entire mission. When NASA launched it on May 5, 2018, the lander will be the agency's tool in understanding the deeper and rockier parts of the planet, which are the mantle, core, and crust.

By studying these, they can learn more about how the planet formed more than 4 billion years ago. It may also tell the origins of the other rocky planets in the solar system such as the Earth, as well as the exoplanets with the same quality.

So far, the robotic geophysicist already detected a tremor. In April 11, NASA reported more tests involving the mole, its heat probe.

It has been digging and hammering into the Martian soil. Something is obstructing it from going any farther, however, and it's what the scientists are investigating before they continue.

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