NASA InSight setting to investigate interior of Mars

NASA will investigate the interior of the Red Planet. NASA InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) has accelerated preparations for the upcoming May launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The team from Lockheed Martin Space Systems assemble and test the InSight spacecraft in a sterile facility near Denver.

Tinuku NASA InSight setting to investigate interior of Mars

"Our team is continuing system integration and test activity last month and the landing is completed and the instrument has been integrated so we can complete the final spacecraft testing including acoustics, instrument applying and thermal balance tests," said Stu Spath, space shuttle program manager at Lockheed Martin.

InSight is the first mission to focus on the inside of Mars. The information gathered will improve understanding of how all rocky planets are formed, including Earth. InSight won the selection by NASA in a competition with 27 other proposals for missions throughout the solar system.

"Since the interior of Mars has rocked far less than Earth in the last three billion years, Mars is likely to hold evidence of a rockier planet's future better than our home planet," InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said.

The mission will place a stationary lander near the equator of Mars. Two solar panels lie about 20 feet (6 meters). A few weeks after the landing, InSight will use a robotic arm to place the two main instruments directly and permanently to the ground. NASA InSight setting to investigate interior of Mars

The French space agency CNES collaborated with the United States, Britain, Switzerland and Germany to develop a seismometer that is good enough for detecting ground motion to record seismic waves or meteor impacts that reveal information about the interior layers of the planet.

A heat probe is designed to enter up to a depth of 10 feet (3 meters) or more and measure the amount of energy coming from the interior within the planet. Heat investigations are supplied by the German Aerospace Center, DLR, with a shy mechanism by Poland.

Other investigations use radio transmissions between Mars and Earth to assess the disruption of how Mars spins on its axis as a way of measuring the core of the planet. The full seismometer instrument was delivered to the Lockheed Martin spacecraft assembly facility in Colorado in July.