The InSight mission to Mars will be launching on May 5, US space agency NASA has confirmed. The mission is the first to the Red Planet that will study its deep interior and find traces of how the planet was formed.
The InSight mission will be launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The spacecraft will be launching aboard the 189-foot-tall (57.3-meter) United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. As per the plan, the mission will land at the Elysium Planitia region located in Mars’ northern hemisphere to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.
NASA said in a statement on Tuesday, InSight is planned for landing at Red Planet on November 26.
Tom Hoffman, Project Manager for NASA’s InSight mission from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said,”If you live in Southern California and the weather is right, you’ll probably have a better view of the launch than I will.”
People from as far north as Bakersfield to perhaps as far south as Rosarito, Mexico, may see the Atlas rocket rising in the predawn sky and then heading south, parallel to the coastline.
This 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.
InSight carries a suite of sensitive instruments to gather data and, unlike a rover mission, these instruments require a stationary lander from which they can carefully be placed on and below the Martian surface.
Looking deep into Mars will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth.
Several European partners have contributed instruments and key components to the InSight mission.