Illustration of spacecraft on the surface of Mars.

Artist's concept of InSight lander on Mars. Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech. Full image and caption ›

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Dec. 7, 2018: NASA's InSight lander, which touched down on Mars just 10 days ago, has provided the first ever "sounds" of Martian winds on the Red Planet.

InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 mph (5 to 7 meters a second) on Dec. 1, from northwest to southeast. The winds were consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit.

Listen to Martian wind blow across NASA’s InSight lander. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/IPGP/Imperial College/Cornell

Launch Date May 5, 2018 | 11:05 UTC
Launch Site Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA
Destination Mars
Type Lander
Status Instrument Checkout Phase
Nation United States, France, Germany
Alternate Names Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport

InSight — which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — will be the first mission to study the deep interior of Mars.

  • InSight will provide the first look at the interior activity of a rocky planet beyond Earth.
  • InSight will also investigate the dynamics of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts, which could offer clues about such phenomena on Earth.
  • The mission seeks to answer one of science's most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?

Mission Elapsed Time

Key Dates

May 5, 2018 | 11:05 UTC: Launch

Nov. 26, 2018 | 8:10 p.m. UTC: Mars Landing

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: Atlas V

Spacecraft Instruments:

  1. SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure), a six-component seismometer

  2. HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe), a self-penetrating array of temperature sensors

  3. RISE (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment), which uses the X-band communications system to enable precise tracking of the planet's motion.

InSight also has two cameras to aid in deployment and instrument context; sensors for atmospheric pressure, temperature, and wind and a magnetometer to help determine the external environmental contribution to the seismic signals; and an IR radiometer to measure surface temperatures affecting the heat flow experiment. A small passive laser retroreflector is also mounted on the deck.

Explore more on NASA's InSight Portal.

Additional Resources

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