After InSight, What’s Next On NASA’s Mars Geophysics Radar?

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NASA’s InSight spacecraft’s successful landing on the flat equatorial plains of Elysium Planitia represents just the beginning of a years-long effort to understand whether Mars’ interior dynamics bears any resemblance at all to Earth’s.

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But more importantly, what can Mars’ inner workings tell us about the formation of planets like our own?

In December, the InSight (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) spacecraft will position its French-built surface seismometer only a few feet from where it landed. That is, on a flat, smooth expanse of lava, says NASA.

  • Publisher: Forbes
  • Date: 2018-11-30
  • Author: Bruce Dorminey
  • Twitter: @forbes
  • Citation: Web link (Learn more)

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Not to change the topic here:

NASA InSight makes successful landing on Mars

After seven months of traveling through space, the NASA InSight mission has landed on Mars. A few minutes later, InSight sent the official ‘beep’ to NASA to signal that it was alive and well, including a photo of the Martian surface where it landed.

InSight, or Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is going to explore a part of Mars that we know the least about: its deep interior. It’launched‘May 5. InSight will spend two years investigating the interior where the building blocks below the planet’s surface that recorded its history.

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What’s next for NASA’s Mars InSight lander?

On Monday, the NASA Mars InSight lander survived the ‘seven minutes of terror’ during entry, descent and landing to safely arrive on Mars and took up permanent residence on the Red Planet. Unlike the rovers already on the Martian surface, InSight will stay put during its planned two-year mission.

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InSight has already been busy. Since landing, it has taken two photos and sent them back as postcards to Earth, showing off its new home. These initial images are grainy because the dust shields haven’t been removed from the camera lenses yet.

And late Monday, mission scientists were able to confirm that the spacecraft’s twin 7-foot-wide solar arrays have unfurled. With the fins folded out, InSight is about the size of a big 1960s convertible, NASA said.

NASA’s InSight lander has touched down on Mars

Mission Control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory exploded into celebratory applause and cheers after the touchdown was confirmed. The landing was watched around the world and even broadcast live on the Nasdaq Stock Market tower in New York City’s Times Square.

During a post-landing NASA press conference, the astronauts on the International Space Station called down to congratulate the mission team and said they ‘got some goosebumps’ watching the coverage.

‘Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,’ NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. ‘InSight will study the interior of Mars and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners, and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.’

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