On 5th May 2018, in California, NASA launched a rocket for a mission called InSight.
This rocket will travel through space for 7 months and cover over 300 million miles, heading for Mars! (485,000,000 km = 301,365,030 miles) note de Phil
It is carrying a new, highly sophisticated robot lander, whose deck measures 5 feet across.
When it arrives, it’ll land gently on the surface of Mars and stay put!
Its aim? Examine the red planet’s interior structure for 2 years. Its first checkup!
But how will the robot do this?
On landing, 2 solar panels will deploy automatically to generate the energy needed for it to work.
Then a remote-controlled robotic arm will place a seismometer on the surface. This highly accurate instrument measures seismic vibrations.
It’ll detect “Marsquakes”, even tiny ones, and allow scientists to work out what the soil is made of and the thickness of the various layers of rock.
The robot will then install a second machine, which will burrow down 16 feet.
It’ll place sensors to measure the temperature of Mars’ interior.
The data collected will help scientists to know more about the history of Mars…
… and better understand how all the rocky planets formed and evolved; like Mercury, Venus and our own planet Earth.