Mars Insight Lander

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Mars Insight Lander is a NASA Mars mission. InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. The spacecraft is part of the NASA Discovery Program and will be launched on 5th May 2018. It is the first Mars Spacecraft launched from the west coast of the USA. Atlas V will also launch the first CubeSat to Deep Space.

Mars Insight Lander Picture

Insight Lander.


Spacecraft

NASA’s Insider Lander is the first robotic explorer to study in-depth the ‘inner space’ of Planet Mars: its crust, mantle and core.

The Atlas V rocket will launch a separate NASA technology experiment: two mini-spacecraft called Mars Cube One (MarCO). These spacecraft fly on their own path to Mars behind InSight.

Mission

The aim of the mission is:

  1. To understand the evolutionary formation of rocky planets (including Planet Earth) by studying the interior structure and processes of Planet Mars.
  2. To analyse the dynamics of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts and see if they have any relation to such phenomena on Earth.

The InSight mission is similar in design to the Phoenix Mars lander used successfully in 2007 to study ground ice near the north pole of Mars.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Specs:

Launch Mass: 721 kg (1,590 lb)
Landing Mass: 358 kg (789 lb)

Mission Timeline:

Insight will launched on an Atlas V-401 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA. It is the first interplanetary launch from the west coast.

Insider Lander is estimated to land Planet Mars on 26 November 2018.  The landing site is Elysium Planitia, Mars. The mission duration is about 2 Earth years.


Mars Interior Picture

Mars Interior.


History

*  Just two weeks after landing its Curiosity rover on Mars, NASA announced it will send another robot to the planet in March 2016.

*   The spacecraft had been on track to launch in March 2016 until a vacuum leak in its prime science instrument prompted NASA in December 2015 to suspend preparations for launch.

NASA and CNES (France’s space agency) redesigned the science instrument with a new launch window that began on 5 May, 2018 with a Mars landing scheduled for 26 November, 2018.

NASA’s JPL is redesigning, building and conducting qualifications of the new vacuum enclosure for the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), the component that failed in December 2015.


Did you know?

The previous USA mission was the Mars Science Laboratory aka Curiosity.


Books:
Mars: The Inside Story of the Red Planet  
by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest
from Amazon.co.uk

The Smithsonian Book of Mars by Joseph M. Boyce
from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World by Oliver Morton
from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk


Mars InSight Links


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