Very First NASA Lander into Analyze Mars' Inside Launches From California

Pearl Mccarthy
May 6, 2018

NASA has launched the Mars InSight lander from California, a stationary lander that will research seismic activity and the mysterious interior of the red planet. It was the first interplanetary mission ever to depart from the west coast, drawing pre-dawn crowds to Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles. The rocket also carried two suitcase-size spacecraft, created to orbit Mars. It's due to reach its location within six months, even landing a comprehensive, clean plain close to the earth's equator called the Elysium Planitia.

Unlike Earth, current evidence doesn't indicate that Mars has a crust broken into plates, so seismic activity isn't formed the same way as on our planet. "We're going back to Mars", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

InSight's primary instrument is a French-built seismometer, created to detect the slightest vibrations from "marsquakes" around the planet. It will also attempt to make the first measurements of marsquakes, using a high-tech seismometer placed directly on the Martian surface. The chipwas attached to the top hull of the lander.

Apollo missions to the moon brought seismometers into the lunar area as well, detecting thousands of moonquakes and meteorite impacts.

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Once settled, the solar-powered In-Sight will spend two years about one Martian year - pipes the depths of their planet's interior for clues regarding how Mars took shape as well as by expansion, the origins of this Earth and other rocky planets.

InSight will dig deeper into Mars than ever before - almost five metres - to take the planet's temperature. The US is the only country successfully to land and operate a spacecraft at Mars.

Hitching a ride aboard the same rocket that launches InSight will be a pair of miniature satellites called CubeSats, which will fly to Mars on their own paths behind the lander in a first deep-space test of that technology.

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