Nasa is all set to send the first-ever mission dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars, the US space agency said on 29 March 2018. Scheduled to launch on 5 May, InSight—a stationary lander—will also be the first Nasa mission since the Apollo moon landings to place a seismometer, a device that measures quakes, on the soil of another planet.
Nasa is not the only agency excited about the mission. Several European partners contributed instruments or instrument components to the InSight mission. InSight is a truly international space mission,” said Tom Hoffman, project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Our partners have delivered incredibly capable instruments that will make it possible to gather unique science after we land.
In some ways, InSight is like a scientific time machine that will bring back information about the earliest stages of Mars’ formation 4.5 billion years ago,” said Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator for InSight. “It will help us learn how rocky bodies form, including Earth, its moon, and even planets in other solar systems.
Unlike a rover mission, these instruments require a stationary lander from which they can carefully be placed on and below the martian surface, Nasa said. Mars is the exoplanet next door—a nearby example of how gas, dust and heat combine and arrange themselves into a planet. Looking deep into Mars will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth