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NASA's Insight is already breaking records

CNET logo CNET 2018-12-03 Mark Serrels
a close up of an umbrella: InSight will spend the next few months setting up its science lab on Mars. © CNET InSight will spend the next few months setting up its science lab on Mars.

If you're not following NASA Insight on Twitter, then I don't know what to tell you. 

That thing is a delight.

It tweets in the first person like this:

Which makes me feel like Insight isn't a collection of nuts and bolts, but rather a harmless dog robot, roaming the desolate planes of Mars, doing science, furthering human knowledge and having the time of its life. Basically AIBO in space.

But here's the interesting news so far: First off, the photos keep on coming, and (for me at least) they remain jaw dropping. A stark reminder that a human-made machine is currently on Mars, doing stuff. That sensation never gets old.

Secondly, Insight has already broken a world record. It's already beaten its robot buddies in its ability to soak up energy from the sun. During its first full day on Mars, Insight generated more energy than any other vehicle on the surface of Mars, hitting 4,588 Watt-hours during. For comparison, Curiosity hit 2,806 Watt-hours and Opportunity hit 922.

"It is great to get our first 'off-world record' on our very first full day on Mars," said InSight project manager Tom Hoffman. "But even better than the achievement of generating more electricity than any mission before us is what it represents for performing our upcoming engineering tasks. The 4,588 watt-hours we produced during sol 1 means we currently have more than enough juice to perform these tasks and move forward with our science mission."

NASA celebrated on Monday, Nov. 26 when its InSight lander successfully touched down at the Elysium Planitia region on Mars. This momentous occasion marked the end point of a 300-million-mile trip from Earth. InSight is now snapping images of its new home as the NASA team looks ahead to investigating the planet's temperature, interior and marsquakes. Shortly after landing, InSight snapped a view of its surroundings using the Instrument Context Camera (ICC) mounted on the front of the lander. This camera's dust cover collected small particles of dirt, but Mars' horizon is still visible in the distance.

NASA celebrated on Monday, Nov. 26 when its InSight lander successfully touched down at the Elysium Planitia region on Mars. This momentous occasion marked the end point of a 300-million-mile trip from Earth. InSight is now snapping images of its new home as the NASA team looks ahead to investigating the planet's temperature, interior and marsquakes. Shortly after landing, InSight snapped a view of its surroundings using the Instrument Context Camera (ICC) mounted on the front of the lander. This camera's dust cover collected small particles of dirt, but Mars' horizon is still visible in the distance.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

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