After a Mission Critical Design Review last Friday, NASA has been given approval to begin construction on a new Mars Lander, which is scheduled to launch in March 2016. NASA’s Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, making it the first interplanetary mission to ever be launched from my home state.
The InSight mission will pierce the Martian surface to study its interior and seek to understand how Earth-like planets formed and developed their structured inner layers (core, mantle, and crust). The lander will carry a robotic arm that will deploy surface and burrowing instruments, including a seismometer and magnetometer, as well as wind, pressure, and temperature sensors.
Measurements gathered during the InSight mission will provide supporting information toward NASA’s goal of sending a human mission to Mars in the 2030s.