MarCO-B was programmed to turn so that it could image the planet in a sequence of shots as it approached Mars (before launch, MarCO-A's cameras were found to be either non-functioning or too blurry to use). And today we really don't know if the core of Mars is liquid or solid, and how big that core is. This image was acquired on November 26, 2018, Sol 0 of the InSight mission where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 13:34:21.
King said he thinks it'll be about three months before he sees any of InSight's data.
InSight is now NASA's eighth successful mission to touch down on Mars, and the spacecraft is created to do something that no rover or lander has done before.
Signals indicating that its solar panels had opened and were collecting sunlight on the Martian surface were relayed to Earth by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter (launched in 2001 and now orbiting Mars), which were received at about 7.00 a.m. IST as expected.
According to NASA, the main goal of the two briefcase-sized machines was to relay data back to Earth during the descent of InSight into the Martian atmosphere, making humanity witness to such an event for the first time.
Tilman Spohn, principal investigator of the HP3 experiment, said, "our plan is to use these measurements to determine the temperature of Mars' interior and to characterize the current geological activity beneath its crust".
Born in Ghana, Trebi-Ollennu has been working at NASA since 1999, and has risen to become the chief engineer of Robotics at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as "tag-alongs" on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing".
"WALL-E sent some great postcards from Mars!" said Cody Colley of JPL, MarCO's mission manager. But during the flyby, MarCO-A transmitted signals through the edge of the Martian atmosphere. "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface".
CubeSats are a type of spacecraft, much smaller in size compared to traditional, large spacecraft.
"They'll never replace the more capable spacecraft NASA is best known for developing".
And for the team that worked on MarCO, the success of the mission is just the beginning.
If more such satellites can launch with other big-ticket missions, it could make that kind of quick relay communication a reality in other deep parts of the solar system, and that's good for the earth.
"During that short span of time, InSight had to autonomously perform dozens of operations and do them flawlessly - and by all indications, that is exactly what our spacecraft did", Hoffman said.