Washington, May 5: NASA launched its historic InSight spacecraft bound for Mars on Saturday aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.
“Humanity’s next mission to Mars has left the pad! NASAInSight heads into space for an approximately six-month journey to Mars where it will take the planet’s vital signs and help us understand how rocky planets formed,” NASA said in a tweet.
InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will examine the deep interior of the red planet in a bid to learn how all rocky planets formed, including Earth and its Moon. The lander’s instruments include a seismometer to detect marsquakes, and a probe that will monitor the flow of heat from the planet’s interior.
InSight will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events, just like earthquakes on Earth.
The Spacecraft will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to establish a map of the planet’s deep interior.