NASA’s Insight lander is now on its way to Mars, where it’ll land in November 2018 for a unique mission: study the interior of the Red Planet. Hopefully, it’ll glean new insights into what Mars might been like when it was younger, and give us an idea of how other rocky planets might have formed.
The lander was originally scheduled to launch in 2016, but was delayed until May 2018. Once it lands, it will measure marsquakes — rumblings in the planet’s crust caused by contractions as the planet cools. This data will tell us quite a bit more about the composition of the planet, and could give us a good idea of what the planet might have looked like when it was younger.
It’s accompanied by a pair of small satellites — MarCO-A and MarCO-B — which will serve as an experimental communications-relay network for InSight when it lands later this year. They’ll attempt to send information to NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is already in orbit around the planet, which in turn will relay the information to Earth.
NASA’s latest Mars lander, InSight, successfully touched down on the surface of the Red Planet this afternoon, surviving an intense plunge through the Martian atmosphere. It marks the eighth picture-perfect landing on Mars for NASA, adding to the space agency’s impressive track record of putting spacecraft on the planet. And now, InSight’s two-year mission has begun, one that entails listening for Marsquakes to learn about the world’s interior.Read Article >
After six and a half months of traveling through space, InSight hit the top of Mars’ atmosphere a little before 3PM ET. It then made a daring descent to the surface, performing a complex multistep routine that slowed the lander from more than 12,000 miles per hour to just 5 miles per hour before it hit the ground. To get to the surface safely, InSight had to autonomously deploy a supersonic parachute, gather radar measurements, and ignite its thrusters all at the right time. Altogether, the landing took just under seven minutes to complete, prompting the nickname “seven minutes of terror.”
This afternoon, NASA will attempt to land its latest spacecraft — a vehicle called InSight that will sit on the planet’s surface and listen for quakes over the next two years — on Mars. But first, it must survive a harrowing descent to the ground. NASA plans to use multiple spacecraft around Mars to confirm that InSight lands intact.Read Article >
Once the lander hits the top of Mars’ atmosphere, it will perform a complicated multistep landing routine that will last between six and seven minutes. During the first phase, InSight will free-fall through the atmosphere using a heat shield for protection as the surrounding air slams into the spacecraft, heating it up to temperatures of 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. The atmosphere will slow the lander significantly, but InSight will need to deploy a supersonic parachute to slow even further. Eventually, the lander will ignite onboard thrusters, which will lower the vehicle to the ground.
Nov 21, 2018
Early next week, NASA will attempt the grueling feat of landing a spacecraft on Mars, hoping to add to its growing collection of tech on the Red Planet’s surface. This time, NASA hopes to place a robotic lander, called InSight, on a flat, boring part of the Martian terrain in order to study the planet’s interior. And to do that, the car-sized robot must perform a perfectly synchronized landing routine — one that will slow the vehicle down from more than 12,000 miles per hour to zero in just six-and-a-half minutes.Read Article >
Launched on May 5th from California, InSight has been traveling through space for the last six months and is scheduled to enter Mars’ atmosphere on Monday, November 26th. During its descent to the surface, the lander will be subject to extremely high temperatures, speeds, and forces. To survive, InSight will autonomously go through dozens of programmed steps, such as deploying a supersonic parachute and igniting onboard thrusters. Each of the steps must happen at precisely the right time to help the lander touch down safely. “[We have] to take out all this energy we have when we arrive at Mars so we have a soft landing when we get to the surface,” Rob Grover, the systems lead on the landing for InSight at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tells The Verge.
May 6, 2018
Our viewing spot to watch the launch is dubbed the “Gravel Pit” — and it certainly lives up to its name. The area is essentially a large plot of rocks and dirt on the side of a small cliff. It’s touted as the best place to watch the rocket take off. That is, if the fog lets up.Read Article >
I’m somewhere deep inside Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California, and I’m about to witness the launch of NASA’s InSight lander. The spacecraft is slated to ride into space on top of an Atlas V rocket, the premier vehicle of the United Launch Alliance. The mission will mark the first time NASA has ever launched a spacecraft to another planet form the West Coast. And it’s also my first time to see a launch from California.
May 5, 2018
Update May 5th, 8:35AM ET: United Launch Alliance successfully launched its InSight lander this morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, which will now head off to Mars to conduct its mission when it arrives in November 2018.Read Article >
NASA’s next robotic explorer is beginning its deep-space voyage to Mars. The lander InSight is set to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the beginning of a six and a half month journey to the Red Planet. Once there, the little spacecraft will listen for quakes to figure out what Mars is made of.
May 3, 2018
On Saturday, NASA is launching its latest Mars explorer — a robot that will sit on the surface of the Red Planet and measure the world as it wobbles. This mission, InSight, is different from previous Mars vehicles, which studied the planet’s surface. Instead, InSight will be helping scientists to peer underneath the crust, to learn more about Mars’ insides, and that could tell us a whole lot about how this planet was born.Read Article >
InSight is a lander, not a rover; once it touches down on Mars, it will stay put for the rest of its lifetime on the planet. From this stationary post, InSight will detect what are known as marsquakes. Like earthquakes, they’re rumblings in the planet’s crust — but they aren’t caused by the same forces. Earthquakes are often the result of our planet’s tectonic plates slipping past each other on the surface. Marsquakes are thought to happen when the planet cools and contracts, causing the crust to crinkle slightly.
Mar 13, 2018
Inside a bright, cavernous room, a giant white metal box is rising toward the ceiling. A cable and pulley system tugs the box upward, and it ascends at just an inch a minute.Read Article >
I’m staring at this box along with 30 or so other people, all of whom are wearing white. No, not wearing white — covered in white. Every person sports a white cloth onesie. No hands or shoes can be seen; all are shrouded in gloves and booties. Even hair doesn’t exist here. Every head is veiled in more white cloth. The only exposed skin I can see are the small slivers of flesh around each individual’s eyes. Mouths must be hidden, too.
NASA plans to launch its next mission to Mars in 2018, two years later than expected, the space agency said today. Called InSight, the mission was originally supposed to launch this month, sending a lander to the Red Planet. But the project was put on hold indefinitely after a leak was found in one of the spacecraft's instruments. It was unclear if the project would move forward at all, but NASA said it is now targeting May 5th, 2018 for the launch of InSight, with the spacecraft scheduled to land on Mars on November 26th, 2018.Read Article >
The InSight mission aims to send a lander to Mars to study the planet's interior and learn more about how the rocky world formed. The project had been on track for its intended March 2016 launch date, but everything came to a halt in December after scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered a problem with one of the lander's two main instruments.
Aug 20, 2012
While the NASA's Curiosity rover explores the surface of Mars, NASA has another mission planned that will measure the red planet's subterranean geology. NASA's new lander will be named InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) and is expected to launch on March 27th, 2016. Scientists hope that it will prove whether Mars has a solid or liquid core, and whether the planet shows signs of tectonic and geothermal activity.Read Article >
The craft will send a probe deep underground to measure seismic vibrations, temperature, and gravitational fluctuations from the pull of the sun. NASA is using parts from its 2007 Phoenix lander in InSight, but some of the instruments will be provided by the French and German space agencies. By reusing this proven chassis, NASA says that it can test and deploy the craft faster than if it were designer from scratch. Once InSight lands on Mars in September of 2016, it's expected to return over 29GB of data over the span of its 720-day mission, which will give scientists clues both about the formation of Mars and the other rocky planets in our solar system.