Insight Mars Rover
January 8, 2019
Starting on Mar 5th, 2018, the InSight mission began its plan to gather information on the deep interior of Mars. “It is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.” according to Nasa’s official page website. The information gathered, according to Nasa, can help scientists better understand the early formation of the rocky planets in our solar system including Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
To gather information, the lander is equipped with multiple state-of-the-art instruments and advanced equipment. The measurements are an attempt to gather the “vital signs” of mars which include: its seismology, its temperature, and it’s reflexes.
As stated by the official Nasa page, the mission goals for InSight are “to uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars. The mission will also determine the rate of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts.”
Nasa has sent previous missions to record its surface history and outer features, like canyons and volcanoes, rocks and soil, but no mission before InSight had studied the planet’s internal features. The information gathered will help us better understand the formation of the first four planets in our solar system and that’s why Nasa launched the mission.
But why Mars? According to Nasa, “Mars is neither too big nor too small. This means that it preserves the record of its formation and can give us insight into how the terrestrial planets formed. It is the perfect laboratory from which to study the formation and evolution of rocky planets.”
However, Mars isn’t an easy planet to travel to. According to the Winnipeg Free Press, “Since 1960, of all the Soviet/Russian, U.S., European and Japanese attempts to get to Mars, more than 50 per cent have failed.”
On November 26, 2018, InSight landed on Mars in a region called “Elysium Planitia”, a mostly flat, smooth plain near the equator of Mars. The six month journey from May to November, called the “cruise phase” obviously took up most of the time. Before landing, Nasa wrote on their “frequently asked questions” page that 60 days before the landing, the lander will begin it’s approach towards the surface however for the entire landing section will take up about six minutes. This includes the entry into Mars’s atmosphere, the descent and the landing.
On Friday, December 7th, the insight lander’s seismometer picked up vibrations, or “heard”, Martian wind. Estimates from Nasa’s news site place the wind at about 10-15 miles per hour (5-7 meters per second). For more news on the InSight mission, visit Nasa’s News and events site or, according to Nasa, the mission also has a presence on both FaceBook and Twitter.