Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Mars Exploration News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















MARSDAILY
NASA's Next Mars Mission to Investigate Interior of Red Planet
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 29, 2017


"Because the interior of Mars has churned much less than Earth's in the past three billion years, Mars likely preserves evidence about rocky planets' infancy better than our home planet does," said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Preparation of NASA's next spacecraft to Mars, InSight, has ramped up this summer, on course for launch next May from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California - the first interplanetary launch in history from America's West Coast.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is assembling and testing the InSight spacecraft in a clean room facility near Denver. "Our team resumed system-level integration and test activities last month," said Stu Spath, spacecraft program manager at Lockheed Martin. "The lander is completed and instruments have been integrated onto it so that we can complete the final spacecraft testing including acoustics, instrument deployments and thermal balance tests."

InSight is the first mission to focus on examining the deep interior of Mars. Information gathered will boost understanding of how all rocky planets formed, including Earth.

"Because the interior of Mars has churned much less than Earth's in the past three billion years, Mars likely preserves evidence about rocky planets' infancy better than our home planet does," said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. He leads the international team that proposed the mission and won NASA selection in a competition with 27 other proposals for missions throughout the solar system. The long form of InSight's name is Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

Whichever day the mission launches during a five-week period beginning May 5, 2018, navigators have charted the flight to reach Mars the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2018.

The mission will place a stationary lander near Mars' equator. With two solar panels that unfold like paper fans, the lander spans about 20 feet (6 meters). Within weeks after the landing - always a dramatic challenge on Mars - InSight will use a robotic arm to place its two main instruments directly and permanently onto the Martian ground, an unprecedented set of activities on Mars. These two instruments are:

+ A seismometer, supplied by France's space agency, CNES, with collaboration from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany. Shielded from wind and with sensitivity fine enough to detect ground movements half the diameter of a hydrogen atom, it will record seismic waves from "marsquakes" or meteor impacts that reveal information about the planet's interior layers.

+ A heat probe, designed to hammer itself to a depth of 10 feet (3 meters) or more and measure the amount of energy coming from the planet's deep interior. The heat probe is supplied by the German Aerospace Center, DLR, with the self-hammering mechanism from Poland.

A third experiment will use radio transmissions between Mars and Earth to assess perturbations in how Mars rotates on its axis, which are clues about the size of the planet's core.

The spacecraft's science payload also is on track for next year's launch. The mission's launch was originally planned for March 2016, but was called off due to a leak into a metal container designed to maintain near-vacuum conditions around the seismometer's main sensors. A redesigned vacuum vessel for the instrument has been built and tested, then combined with the instrument's other components and tested again. The full seismometer instrument was delivered to the Lockheed Martin spacecraft assembly facility in Colorado in July and has been installed on the lander.

"We have fixed the problem we had two years ago, and we are eagerly preparing for launch," said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman, of JPL.

The best planetary geometry for launches to Mars occurs during opportunities about 26 months apart and lasting only a few weeks.

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the InSight Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Together with two active NASA Mars rovers, three NASA Mars orbiters and a Mars rover being built for launch in 2020, InSight is part of a legacy of robotic exploration that is helping to lay the groundwork for sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

MARSDAILY
For Moratorium on Sending Commands to Mars, Blame the Sun
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 17, 2017
This month, movements of the planets will put Mars almost directly behind the sun, from Earth's perspective, causing curtailed communications between Earth and Mars. NASA will refrain from sending commands to America's three Mars orbiters and two Mars rovers during the period from July 22 to Aug. 1. "Out of caution, we won't talk to our Mars assets during that period because we expec ... read more

Related Links
InSight at NASA
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

MARSDAILY
Call For Ideas For Research On The Deep Space Gateway

Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry

Roscosmos Approves Luna-25 Space Station Model in Moon Exploration Project

Moon's magnetic field lasted far longer than once believed

MARSDAILY
China's satellite sends unbreakable cipher from space

Xian Satellite Control Center resolves over 10 major satellite faults in 50 years

China develops sea launches to boost space commerce

Chinese satellite Zhongxing-9A enters preset orbit

MARSDAILY
NASA's asteroid sample return mission successfully adjusts course

Phoenicid meteor shower from dead comet arises again after 58 years

Dino-killing asteroid could have thrust Earth into 2 years of darkness

Large asteroid to safely pass Earth on September 1

MARSDAILY
New Horizons Video Soars over Pluto's Majestic Mountains and Icy Plains

Juno spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

New evidence in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis

Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy planets

MARSDAILY
NASA Announces Cassini End-of-Mission Activities

Cassini to begin final five orbits around Saturn

Cassini Prepares to Say Goodbye to a True Titan

NASA finds moon of Saturn has chemical that could form 'membranes'

MARSDAILY
NASA Mission to Study Atmospheric Disturbances from Marshall Islands

Man-made fossil methane emission levels larger than previously believed

Nickel key to Earth's magnetic field, research shows

How future volcanic eruptions will impact Earth's ozone layer

MARSDAILY
Setting the Spaceplane Stage

Lockheed Martin Powers-up Next Orion Spacecraft for First Time

Turning human waste into plastic, nutrients could aid long-distance space travel

NASA should continue large strategic missions to maintain leadership in space

MARSDAILY
A New Search for Extrasolar Planets from the Arecibo Observatory

Gulf of Mexico tube worm is one of the longest-living animals in the world

Molecular Outflow Launched Beyond Disk Around Young Star

Earth-like planet in star system only 16 light years away




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement