Countdown to Launch!
Elysium Planitia, Mars, will soon be the home of NASA’s new Martian mission: InSight. The InSight Mars Lander is expected to launch Saturday, May 5, 2018, and begin its mission to study Mars. InSight, which is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will analyze the crust, mantle and core of Mars. InSight will be the first of any Martian mission to give the planet its first in-depth ‘checkup’ since its formation 4.5 billion years ago.
The lander uses cutting edge instruments, to delve deep beneath the surface and seek the fingerprints of the processes that formed the terrestrial planets. It does so by measuring the planet’s “vital signs”: its “pulse” (seismology), “temperature” (heat flow), and “reflexes” (precision tracking). – NASA, Mars InSight Mission
InSight has two mission objectives: (1) investigating the formation and evolution of Mars to gain an understanding of how planets form within our solar system and (2) determining the tectonic activity of Mars and the rate of meteorite impacts on Mars. To investigate the formation and evolution of Mars, InSight will analyze Mars’s interior structure by evaluating the size of its core, its composition, the depth of its crust, the structure of its mantle and the heat flow of its interior. In order for InSight to determine Mars’s tectonic activity and meteorite impact frequency, InSight will be monitoring seismic activity, locating the activity and tracking occurences of meteorite impacts.
InSight will also carry 2.5 million names to Mars. The names are contained on two silica microchips that were placed onboard the lander. After receiving hundreds of thousands of names, NASA installed a second microchip for more members of the public to participate. Like the Phoenix Mars Lander, the Robinson Family Aerospace Mission has submitted their names onto the mission, in addition to the names of others.
Notable people who submitted their names aboard InSight include actors William Shatner and Matt Damon and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.
InSight will be launching on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at 4:05 a.m. PT./7:05 a.m. ET.
For more information on InSight, visit: https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/
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