NASA's space exploration will set out this week as Mars mission launches

James Marshall
April 30, 2018

NASA's InSight to Mars undergoes final preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California, ahead of its launch. The launch window opens at 4:05 a.m. PT (7:05 a.m. ET).

"So we're really trying to get new depths of knowledge through InSight because this is the first time we're doing something like this".

The InSight (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) spacecraft will be a stationary lander mission that measures the seismic activity. The InSight Mars Lander will be the first to explore Mars' deep interior.

"I think for all missions to Mars we're talking a 50 percent success rate, so a lot of missions have gone wrong". "We're happy to have them along for the ride", Banerdt said.

Credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Tony VauclinHe further adds, "We have mapped the surface of the whole planet in the terms of visual features, topography, gravitational force and magnetic fields".

"So when we look at the Earth we often see fireballs or shooting stars occurring in the atmosphere and those are space rocks burning up in the atmosphere", she said. We have roved around the surface at four different places, studying the geology and piecing together the history of the surface.

"But by far, the wide regions of the planet deeper than a couple of miles, or so, (have) been nearly totaly unknown to us".

He added, "InSight will change that with a single stroke".

Once it reaches Mars orbit, InSight will offer humanity's first glimpse into the interior of Mars.

So, how do you study a planet that's 75 million miles (121 million kilometers) away?

Ms Miljkovic said the InSight lander should delve deep into what the planet is made of. It can't roll around gathering up dirt to study.

But they will not be mining to the core, instead they plan to wait for an asteroid to smash into the surface of Mars causing an quake - or more accurately, a marsquake.

The arm has a camera that will snap color 3-D images, and there's a second camera on the spaceship's body that will provide wide-angle views.

It is hoped scientists will learn many new things about the fundamental properties of Mars as well as its development over the birth of our galaxy.

And finally, Banerdt said, InSight "will have one of the best weather stations ever placed on Mars, measuring pressure, wind and temperature around the clock for at least a Martian year".

In a statement this week, NASA said it was working to build a replacement heat shield structure for the Mars rover. Two suitcase-size spacecraft will be launched on the same rocket. These 20 Pictures about NASA's Insight Lander Mars mission are the courtesy of USAF 30th Space Wing/Tony Vauclin.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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