This one’s been in the works for a long time, but NASA’s fly-like spacecraft InSight is set to start collecting invaluable data about seismic waves, subterranean temperatures, and the rotation of Mars when it finally gets to the Red Planet on November 26, 2018.
— NASA Marshall (@NASA_Marshall) August 30, 2017
InSight, or Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, was originally set to head to Mars in 2016, but they had to postpone the launch due to problems regarding the chamber housing the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. The device is going to be used to collect data of seismic waves from “marsquakes” or meteor impacts so we can learn more about the interior layers of Mars. And since the experiment is essentially a third of the mission, NASA had to double down to ensure that the equipment and the container protecting it from the elements would safely make the trip from Earth to Mars.
The other main experiments InSight will undertake will be to drill a hole 10 feet down into the surface of Mars for a heat probe that will be used to evaluate the energy emitted from the planet’s interior, and to measure how Mars rotates on its axis by sending and receiving a series radio signals from Earth.
Then again, I’m getting ahead of myself; Once InSight blasts off to Mars on May 5, 2018, and safely lands in one piece, the probe will then unfurl its insect-like solar panels to absorb the energy it needs to begin setting up the necessary data-collecting equipment for NASA’s Martian experiments. It’s been a long journey, but it will be exciting to watch InSight land on Mars shortly after Thanksgiving, only to rest and soak up some rays before it begins digging, recording information, and broadcasting its findings back home. Stay tuned!