5 Facts You Need To Know About NASA’s InSight Mission


It is all over the news. NASA’s InSight Mission Lander has landed on Martian land and is already sending data back to Earth. An incredible achievement. This is the eighth time in human history that humans have landed robots on Mars. You can read more about the Mission in Jesse’s article but for now I’d like to give you five facts about the InSight Mission in an easy to digest manner .

Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager, NASA JPL, left, and Sue Smrekar, InSight deputy principal investigator, NASA JPL, react after receiving confirmation that the Mars InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars.NASA/Bill Ingalls

1.     What does InSight stand for?

InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport

2.     The InSight Mission goal

The aim of NASA’s InSight Mission is to gather information about Mars kind of like a thorough medical checkup. This will be the first time in the Red Planet’s formation where Mars’ interior will be studied to this level of detail. The planet’s core, mantle and crust will be explored allowing scientists to find out more about the formation of the rocky planets in our Solar System and measure its’ tectonic activity.

3.     How big is the InSight Lander?

The InSight Lander is 5 ft 1 inch (1.56 m) wide and 19 feet 8 inches (6 m) long and weighs 794 pounds (360 kg) which is roughly the weight of about 5 people.

4.     What instruments does the InSight Lander have?

SEIS: A seismometer that can provide information on internal vibrations or Marsquakes occurring within the Red Planet. Depending on the material the vibrations propagate through will change the way the seismic waves travel which when detected can tell scientists what the materials are.

HP3: A heat probe that will burrow almost 16 feet (5 m) into Mars’ surface – the deepest to date. The probe will help scientists measure Mars’ temperature and work out whether Mars was formed from the same materials as Earth or not.

RISE: A radio wave instrument that can help scientists work out the size of Mars’ core as well as its composition by sending out a signal and seeing how it changes in frequency via the Doppler shift.

Instrument Deployment and Instrument Context Camera: The former being a camera that offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Martian land in color. The latter being a camera that will take ‘fisheye’ field of view of the Lander’s workspace.

5.     When did the InSight Lander take off?

The InSight Lander left Earth on May 5, 2018 and took almost 7-months to get to the Red Planet and finally landed on November 26, 2018 at 11:52 am (PT). It took the Lander about six and a half minutes to land and entered the Martian atmosphere at about 12,300 mph.

So, there are some facts about the InSight Lander. If you would like to know more about the InSight Lander you can learn more here. Also, keep an eye out for new images and datafrom the Lander – as the days go on scientists will learn more and more about the Red Planet as well as our Solar System. Watch this space.

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