NASA Will Soon Get Unprecedented Look at Mars

InSight lander will explore the planet's interior
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2018 9:02 AM CDT
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This illustration made available by NASA depicts the InSight lander drilling into Mars.   (NASA via AP)

(Newser) – NASA launched another spacecraft toward Mars on Saturday, and this one is designed to provide an unprecedented look at the planet's interior. You can watch the liftoff the InSight lander, a 790-pound probe, here. The spacecraft won't reach Mars until November, but when it does, it will fill in important gaps in knowledge, mission official Bruce Banerdt tells CNN. Previous missions have explored the planet's atmosphere and surface, "but until now, the vast regions of the planet deeper than a few miles, or so, (have) been almost completely unknown to us." InSight will change that.

The lander will dig deeper into Mars than ever before—nearly 16 feet—to take the planet's temperature, per the AP. It will also attempt to make the first measurements of "marsquakes," using a seismometer placed directly on the Martian surface. The Atlas V rocket holds a pair of mini satellites meant to trail InSight all the way to Mars in a first-of-its-kind technology demonstration. Another first: This is the first mission to another planet that launched from the West Coast, instead of from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

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