Insight Will Soon Bring Deep Understanding of Mars

Nikki Diefenbach

NASA’s Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) Spacecraft launched in May and is landing on Mars at the end of this month. November 26th is Landing Day and NASA has planned a full schedule of events leading up to the landing. 80 live viewing events will also take place across the world. There is great anticipation for this as it will be the first landing on Mars in six years, when the Curiosity rover landed in 2012.

InSight is scheduled to perform a two-year mission to explore the interior of Mars without ever moving from its landing site. It will simply spread solar panels and extend a robotic arm. That’s when the real fun begins. Here is a look at some of the science that will be conducted by InSight:

  • It will be able to detect seismic waves from marsquakes and meteorite strikes.
  • The varying radio signals emanating from InSight due to the planet’s wobble in its rotation will help scientists determine if Mars’ core is liquid or solid.
  • It will hammer a spike 16 feet underground to measure heat that has been trapped inside Mars. Heat that may even have shaped the flow of rivers in early Mars history.
  • The heat measurements may also help scientists understand the process by which the formation and evolution of rocky planets occurs.

Click here for more information and here for a list of where to watch the landing.

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. When, if ever, do you think people will land on Mars?

Q2. Why is it important to study Mars?

Q3. Which planet in our solar system are you most interested in and why?