NASA Mission Returns to Mars to Research 'Marsquakes'

06 May, 2018, 14:47 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Mars' moons Phobos and Deimos

An Atlas 5 rocket soared into space early on Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying NASA's first robotic lander designed for exploring the deep interior of another planet on its voyage to Mars.

A rocket bound for Mars blasted off early Saturday, marking NASA's first journey to the red planet in six years, in a mission that is expected to last almost six months. The InSight will also drill 10-16 feet below the Red Planet's crust to find out more geological information about the formation of the planet.

The one billion dollar mission involves scientists from the US, France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

"That's the real payoff of this whole mission and that's still lying ahead of us", said the mission's chief scientist, Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "It's going to be awesome". The InSight, which is short for for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is expected to touch down in November, joining five other NASA spacecraft on or orbiting around Mars. Only about 40pc of all missions to Mars from all countries - orbiters and landers alike - have proven successful over the decades. Once down, it will stay put, using a mechanical arm to place the science instruments on the surface. Seismic waves can give scientists a good idea of what a planet is made of.

"This is of fundamental importance to understand the origin of our solar system and how it became the way it is today". Unlike Earth, Mars hasn't been transformed by plate tectonics and other processes, he said.

West Ham fine Andy Carroll after early bench exit against Manchester City
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The mission, which will last almost two years, is being largely financed and coordinated by the USA, although several European countries - primarily Germany and France, but also Spain and other nations - also have made key contributions.

FOR centuries humanity has pondered what might lie beneath the dusty red surface of Mars - now it looks like we are set to find out after NASA yesterday launched a spacecraft on a 300-million-mile trip to the planet.

Once there, InSight will begin a two-year primary mission to study the planet's deep interior.

Lastly, the lander will gather clues about the size and density of the Martian core by taking detailed measurements of its oscillations.


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