Entry, Descent, and Landing
The entry, descent, and landing (EDL) begins when the spacecraft reaches the Martian atmosphere, about 80 miles (about 128 kilometers) above the surface, and ends with the lander safe and sound on the surface of Mars six minutes later.
For InSight, this phase includes a combination of technologies inherited from past NASA Mars missions such as NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. This landing system weighs less than the airbags used for the twin rovers or the skycrane used by the Mars Science Laboratory. The lean landing hardware helps InSight place a higher ratio of science instruments to total launch mass on the surface of Mars.
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