Earlier in 2018 another unusual object was identified as a Martian rock, and in 2008 NASA's other rover, Opportunity, had for the first time found in Mars a small meteorite of iron.
According to NASA, it is sitting in shallow dust, slightly tilted at an angle of about four degrees. Although the reason for this tilt is not entirely known, NASA says it should not prevent the machine from performing its tasks successfully, as it has been created to operate on a surface with an inclination up to 15 degrees.
According to NASA, InSight touched down on target - lava plain called Elysium Planitia.
After analyzing the few initial images sent back by InSight, the team operating it is confident the site is mostly rock-free, meaning operations should be conducted without problems. "There are no landing pads or runways on Mars, so coming down in an area that is basically a large sandbox without any large rocks should make instrument deployment easier and provide a great place for our mole to start burrowing".
"We couldn't be happier", said InSight project manager Tom Hoffman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Should rocks have been present, they could have prevented the lander to properly operate its instruments. Better images are expected in the coming days once InSight sheds the dust covers on its two cameras.
As reported 5.UA, research unit created to study the internal structure and composition of Mars, and also for deepening knowledge on the structure of the red planet. InSight will spend two years investigating the interior where the building blocks below the planet's surface recorded its history.