2018 NASA InSight mission to Mars to examiner planet’s interior

The 2018 InSight mission Mars being launched by NASA will be a mission that will probe the interiors of the Red Planet, the US space agency has revealed.

According to NASA, the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission is scheduled for a 2018 lift-off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with a Mars landing scheduled after October 2018.

Data collected by InSight mission and the information derived from the analysis of this data will boost understanding of how all rocky planets formed, including Earth. InSight is the first mission of NASA to investigate the deep interior of Mars and is part of a legacy of robotic exploration that is helping to lay the groundwork for sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

The mission will place a stationary lander near Mars’ equator. With two solar panels that unfold like paper fans, the lander spans about 6 metres, according to NASA. Within weeks after the landing, InSight will use a robotic arm to place its two main instruments directly and permanently onto the Martian ground, an unprecedented set of activities on Mars. The mission was originally scheduled to launch in March 2016, but NASA suspended launch preparations in December due to a vacuum leak in the lander`s prime science instrument.

“Because the interior of Mars has churned much less than Earth`s in the past three billion years, Mars likely preserves evidence about rocky planets` infancy better than our home planet does,” Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA, said in a statement.