Illustration of spacecraft on the surface of Mars.

This artist's concept from August 2015 depicts NASA's InSight Mars lander fully deployed for studying the deep interior of Mars. The mission will launch in May 2018 and land on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018. Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech.

Launch Date May 5, 2018 (11:05 UTC)
Launch Site Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA
Destination Mars
Type Lander
Status In Flight
Nation United States
Alternate Names Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport

Goals

To understand the evolutionary formation of rocky planets, including Earth, by investigating the interior structure and processes of Mars. InSight will also investigate the dynamics of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts, which could offer clues about such phenomena on Earth. InSight seeks to answer one of science's most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?

Accomplishments

This spacecraft is en route to Mars.

Key Dates

May 5, 2018: Launch

Nov. 26, 2018: 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.

Additional Resources

NASA Mars Program: InSight

NASA: InSight

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: InSight

NASA Mars Exploration Program

Mars News