On May 5, 2018, the Mars InSight mission is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force base in California. This launch will be NASA’s first from the West Coast.
The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport is scheduled to land in Elysium Planitia, Mars (northern hemisphere) on Nov. 26, 2018.
For two year, the lander will study Mars’s deep interior to reveal clues in how rocky bodies form–not only Mars but also the Earth and Moon. NASA teamed up with several European partners to outfit the lander with instruments.
NASA hopes the lander’s ultra-sensitive seismometer will see between dozens to hundreds of marsquakes, each providing a picture of Mars’s interior. Meteorites, which regularly impact, will provide further pictures. Radio signals will determine if the core is molten. Other sensors will measure wind, pressure, and temperature.
The heat sensor will tunnel sixteen feet underground to measure how heat is escaping into space.
The RISE (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment) is designed to track the wobble of Mars’s North Pole as the planet orbits the sun. This data will provide a clue as to the interior’s composition.
Lastly, the probe will carry a microchip etched with names. The name of the hero of The Music of Mars, my novel, and my name are on that chip.
Click here to learn more about The Music of Mars.
I’m interested in many things, from Mars to space travel, music to books, movies to creating my own stories. My sci-fi novel, The Music of Mars, is available now.