This is the view across Elysium Planitia, the vast lava plain near the equator of Mars, where Nasa’s InSight lander touched down after a hair-raising descent on Monday. The probe snapped the image of the desolate landscape as the dust thrown up by its arrival was still settling around it.
Over the coming days, InSight will take more photos of the landing site and send them back to Earth, where scientists will use them to decide where the probe should place its instruments.
The lander’s seismometer will be an ear to the ground that listens for “marsquakes”, which shudder through the planet when slabs of underground rock fracture and slip. Another instrument will burrow into the ground and take the temperature of the red planet.
Hours after InSight touched down, the probe called home to say its solar panels had opened and were collecting what feeble sunlight reaches the planet. On a clear day the panels will generate 700W, enough to power a kitchen blender, and all the lander needs to operate.
Taken with a clear dust cover still in place on the camera lens, the picture was beamed up from the Martian surface to Nasa’s orbiting Odyssey spacecraft, and from there sent the 91m miles (146m kilometres) to Earth.