NASA spacecraft lands on Mars to dig deep

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A NASA spacecraft has landed on Mars to explore the planet’s interior.

Flight controllers announced that the spacecraft InSight touched down Monday, after a perilous supersonic descent through the red Martian skies.

Confirmation came via radio signals that took more than eight minutes to cross the nearly 100 million miles (160 million kilometers) between Mars and Earth.

There was no immediate word on whether the lander was in good working order. NASA satellites around Mars will provide updates.

Cape Coral resident Carol Stewart says she has been observing planets for years from her own observatory in her back yard.

“In two three minutes in turn everything on, and i’m ready to observe,” Stweart said.

“I’ve watched so many launches of these previous spacecraft because they’ve been from Cape Canaveral and they go up right over there in the Northeast.”

But she says she was not able to watch the Mars landing this time.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Whitaker eminent Scholar, Derke Buzasi says the robot will use instruments to probe the planet

“This thing is about 5 feet across, waist high and we can send something like that that is a robot that is smart enough to do these things on its own and make decision on it’s own,” Buzasi said.

It is NASA’s eighth successful Mars landing since the 1976 Vikings. The thee-legged, one-armed InSight will operate from the same spot for the next two years. It landed less than 400 miles (600 kilometers) from NASA’s Curiosity rover, which until Monday was the youngest working robot in town.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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