This artist's concept depicts the stationary NASA Mars lander known by the acronym InSight at work studying the interior of Mars. The InSight mission (for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is scheduled to launch in March 2016 and land on Mars six months later. It will investigate processes that formed and shaped Mars and will help scientists better understand the evolution of our inner solar system's rocky planets, including Earth.
InSight will deploy a heat-flow probe designed to hammer itself 3 to 5 yards (or meters) deep and monitor heat coming from the planet's interior. The mission will also use a seismometer and radio science. The French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, or CNES, and the German Aerospace Center, or DLR, are contributing instruments to the mission. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is building the spacecraft.
InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program of competitively selected solar system exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Discovery Program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages InSight for the NASA Science Mission Directorate.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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