New Images Show the Mars InSight Lander With an Alien Green Glow

New NASA photos shot from space show it as a bright green color.

New images of the Mars Insight Lander, which hit the surface of the red planet on November 26, show it glowing bright green. Conspiracy theorists, fans of red-arrow investigations, and those Who Want to Believe shouldn’t get excited just yet, as NASA’s explanation for the images (see below) clears things up.

But first, here’s how the photos of InSight released today were were shot from space: The HiRISE camera, one of six instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that circles the planet, captured the InSight Lander, its parachute, and the discarded heat shield that was used when InSight descended made its terrifying seven-minute descent into the Martian atmosphere, the riskiest moments of the mission. (HiRISE stands for “High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.”)

So why are the images green? Well, “that’s not their actual color: Light reflected off their surfaces cause the color to be saturated,” reads a description from the space agency that was released with images on Thursday. NASA also points out the blackness of the ground around the lander, which was “blasted by its retrorockets during descent.”

From left to right: The InSight spacecraft, its heat shield, and its parachute, as photographed on December 6 and 11 by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
From left to right: The InSight spacecraft, its heat shield, and its parachute, as photographed on December 6 and 11 by the HiRISE camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

These teal photos are actually rather boring in comparison to the others that have been released in the last few weeks, before the data collection of the of the mission gets underway in about seven weeks. There have been imagination-capturing images for the Martian landscape, and because this is 2018, an InSight selfie.

There are images shot from InSight that show the rocky, alien landscape:

This image from InSight's robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft's deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background.
This image from InSight's robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft's deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background.

There has also been a “selfie” posted by InSight, thanks to a camera positioned on its robotic arm:

This is NASA InSight's first full selfie on Mars. It displays the lander's solar panels and deck. On top of the deck are its science instruments, weather sensor booms and UHF antenna. The selfie was taken on Dec. 6
This is NASA InSight's first full selfie on Mars. It displays the lander's solar panels and deck. On top of the deck are its science instruments, weather sensor booms and UHF antenna. The selfie was taken on Dec. 6

This is the just the beginning for this Martian science lab. InSight’s mission is scheduled to last 728 days, which is 209 sols, or Martian days, on Mars. Of course, NASA hopes it stays working much longer than the nearly two-year mission that will see it collect scientific data about the deep interior of the red planet.

Getting to Mars was no easy feat, though: The probe survived what NASA has referred to as its “seven minutes of terror,” the series of delicate maneuvers it had to pull off to stick its landing. Once the “touchdown confirmed” audio message came through the atmosphere at Mission Control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California went from dead-silent library to an epic celebration:

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Media via jpl.nasa.gov (1, 2)