NASA spacecraft InSight Lander has touched down on Mars

The InSight Lander has touched down on Mars on Tuesday after seven months travelling through space.

The spacecraft, described as a "robot geologist", landed on the red planet to jubilation in the NASA control room, which was live streamed during the event.

Entering Mars' atmosphere at around 19,300km/h, the aircraft deployed a supersonic parachute to slow its speed before freefalling until its reverse thrusters put on the final brakes.

It was a tense few moments in the NASA control room with the woman in charge counting down the spacecraft's altitude.

"Altitude 600m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 80m, 60m, 50m, 37m, 30m, 20m, 17m," she said, before it finally landed.

When it landed the spacecraft's Twitter account sent out a tweet saying "I feel you, #Mars - and soon I'll know your heart. With this safe landing, I'm here. I'm home".

While there is no immediate word if the lander was working, the plan is for the spacecraft to place a seismometer and heat probe on the Martian ground, tracking the planet's temperature as well as any quakes for the next two years.

But it was an endeavour that some were worried wouldn't happen due to the difficulty involved for the lander to touch down.

"We call it the seven minutes of terror because at that point there's nothing we can do," said engineer Farah Alibay.

US Vice President Mike Pence called NASA after the event, saying he was "incredible ecstatic" for the landing, reports the Guardian.

InSight took off for the 485 million kilometre trip back in May. It is the first robot to land on the red planet since 2012, when the Curiosity rover landed.


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