Taking the Vital Signs of Mars

Does Mars have quakes? What is the temperature of the Red Planet? How did Mars even form? What can it tell us about how other rocky planets formed?

The Mars InSight lander is scheduled to launch in May 2018 to search for the answers to those questions.

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) will conduct the first thorough “check-up” of Mars in more than 4.5 billion years, measuring its “pulse”, or seismic activity; its temperature; and its “reflexes” (the way the planet wobbles when it is pulled by the Sun and its moons).

How and Why?


By using sophisticated instruments – tools that can measure the vital signs of a planet – InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the clues left by the earliest stages of planetary formation.  


Previous Mars missions have explored the surface history of the Red Planet. Mars has been less geologically active than Earth, so it retains a more complete record of its history in its core, mantle and crust. InSight will study the sizes, densities and overall structure of the Red Planet’s core, mantle and crust. 


The lander will also measure the rate at which heat escapes from the planet’s interior, and provide glimpses into the evolutionary processes of all the rocky planets in our solar system, including Earth, and even those circling other stars!


Send Your Name to Mars!


You can send your name to Mars onboard the InSight lander! The deadline to get your Martian boarding pass is Nov. 1. To submit your name, visit: mars.nasa.gov/syn/insight

Learn more about Mars InSight HERE.

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