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Space & Astronomy

NASA's InSight lander is on its way to Mars

By T.K. Randall
May 5, 2018 · Comment icon 10 comments



InSight will delve beneath the surface of the Red Planet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL
The spacecraft blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard an Atlas V rocket earlier today.
Expected to land on Mars in November of this year, the $1 billion lander will attempt to learn more about what lies beneath the surface of the Red Planet using an array of instruments including a burrowing temperature sensor and a seismometer designed to detect Marsquakes.

A radio science experiment will also be carried out to study the planet's internal structure.

"This mission will probe the interior of another terrestrial planet, giving us an idea of the size of the core, the mantle, the crust and our ability then to compare that with the Earth," said NASA chief scientist Jim Green.
"This is of fundamental importance to understand the origin of our solar system and how it became the way it is today."

The mission, which is expected to last two Earth years, will ultimately produce a true 3D image of Mars, offering clues as to how the planet (and by extension the Earth) formed billions of years ago.

"InSight, for seismologists, will really be a piece of history," said scientist Philippe Lognonne.



Source: The Guardian | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
Lift off of InSight   InSight, MarCO Cubesats Separate from Atlas V Centaur Upper Stage
Comment icon #2 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
Cool! I hope every goes as planned. I honestly had no idea of the existence of InSight. I probably should follow space exploration news more closely.
Comment icon #3 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
1 billion dollars ?
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
That's "total mission cost", not the cost of the rover itself. I don't know the actual physical cost of the rover itself. Probably tens or hundreds of millions.
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
For example, all parts of the rover are specially "hardened" to deal with the enormous stresses of the total flight mission. The computer chips are not normal either. They are stress, heat and radiation hardened. Even the circuit boards they are placed on are very special... hardened as above. All the physical structural parts of the rover... it's shell, wheels, extension arms, etc. are specially made through highly expensive materials (some composite), all of which go through extensive acoustic and x-Ray analysis. When finished, the rover and lander assemblies undergo an expensive "de-contami... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
Except that there are no wheels. InSight is a lander not a rover, I think you are thinking of the Mars 2020 mission. You are correct on many of the other details. As well as the actual construction costs of the lander, the price will include cost of the launch vehicle ($109 million), the costs of ground support and control  during the mission, the cost of using the Deep Space Network to track the mission, and many other sundries. The mission also incurred an addition $150 million cost when it had to be delayed and stored for two years after the failure of a French made instrument just prior to... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
Excellent clarification from Waspie...
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
The one billion is from the article listed on this very forum.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
InSight Steers Toward Mars  
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
NASA CubeSats Steer Toward Mars  


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