NASA’s the Mars InSight spacecraft will get launched in this weekend. It will be taking the planet’s pulse by taking the first measurements of “marsquakes.” The spacecraft will takeoff from the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket on May 5th from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
If all things happened according to plans, then the solar power spacecraft will reach Mars on a smooth, flat plain which is present in the north of the Martian equator on November 26th. The spacecraft will carry some studies about the Planet’s Interior structure and composition on Mars for two years. Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the lander’s instrument would help scientists to stare down deep into the red planet.
The mission is worth about $1 billion US and the mission is aimed at studying about the Mars. Scientists expect that by studying the structure of the Mars, they can understand more about the red planet. Mars is smaller as compared to Earth. Banerdt said that the tectonic plate and other processes that are occurring in the Earth had changed the structure, but Mars has retained the original fingerprints of early evolution.
The insight which is the short form for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Heat Transport, and Geodesy. It will have two instruments to carry out the experiments, one of the device is known as Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) which help in detecting and characterizing the ground shaking events such as “marsquake” and impact of a meteorite. The data that SEIS will provide will help researchers as to know more about the Red Planet’s crust.
The second instrument which will be used in this mission is Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3). This instrument will hammer itself till 16.5 feet or 5v meters under the red dirt and can measure the amount of heat that is flowing under it. This data aims to reveal an essential thing about Mars interior and the about the time it has evolved as per InSight scientists.
According to scientists, InSight will be conducting other investigation which is known as Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment with the help of the communications gear. The handlers present in the landers will help in monitoring the InSIght’s location accurately to spot slight wobbles in the axis of the Mars. As per the analysis, this type of information will help to study the planet core which includes the size of the planet.
All the previous Mars missions have focused on the surface rocks and minerals. The atmosphere and the magnetic field of the planet have been examined in detail since last decade. Banerdt said, “But we have never probed sort of beneath the outermost skin of the planet.” He added by saying that, “Mars is still a pretty mysterious planet. Even with all the studying that we’ve done, it could throw us a curveball.”