Eerie image from Mars after successful NASA landing

A strange photograph of Mars' vast dusty landscape has been sent back to Earth from a spacecraft that successfully landed on the mysterious planet.

The NASA Twitter account sent out the image, which shows a large flat expanse with a few rocks or hills. Dust on the lens made it hard to see specific features of the landscape.

The NASA spacecraft landed on the red planet successfully on Tuesday (NZ time), a manoeuvre only ever managed eight times before.

It was designed to burrow beneath the surface of Mars further than ever before.

There was huge celebration at NASA's Pasadena branch when confirmation was received that the spacecraft named 'InSight' had landed.

The signal took almost eight minutes to cross the 160 million kilometres between Mars and Earth, the message prompting tears, handshakes, hugs, and fist-pumps from the engineers and scientists back on earth.

It was a six-month, 482 million-kilometre journey for InSight, but engineers said it was the "final seven minutes of terror" that were the hardest to watch.

InSight landing team leader Rob Grover said they'd studied for many possibilities.

"We've spent years testing our plans, learning from other Mars landings and studying all the conditions Mars can throw at us," he said.

InSight will attempt to "spread its solar wings" tonight, according to NASA, a very important step in order to power its work on the red planet.

The spacecraft will burrow five metres into the surface of Mars using a self-hammering mole and will place a seismometer on the surface of Mars to measure for earthquakes.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Twitter that the journey will "teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars".

InSight was a $1 billion venture and its missions are set to run for two years.


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