Close
Date TimeNovember 22, 2018
VoiceOn Monday (Nov. 26), Mars fans around the globe will watch eagerly to see NASA land a new mission called InSight on the Red Planet — but for the scientists who built the mission, the real excitement will just be getting started.
That's because the $850 million InSight mission has an ambitious slate of scientific tasks to accomplish during its time at work on the surface, which is planned to last about two years. While plenty of orbiters, landers and rovers have sought to understand Mars' surface and atmosphere, InSight — or more formally Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — will be the first to turn its gaze inward.
With just three main instruments aboard the lander, the team has carefully designed the mission to tackle a big mystery: What's hiding beneath the Martian surface — geologically, that is. That makes InSight stand out from the string of missions that have gradually looked at the possibility of life on Mars throughout the planet's history, most recently the Curiosity rover and the upcoming Mars 2020 rover.
NASA's InSight Lander Will Look Inside Mars Like Never Before. Here's Why
InSight has three main projects that will structure its time on Mars.
First, it carries a seismometer decked out with a suite of environmental sensors. You may be familiar with seismometers from their work here on Earth detecting tremors in the ground, and InSight's will perform a similar task, sensing hypothesized shakes in the ground that scientists call marsquakes, as well as tremors triggered by meteorite impacts.
But terrestrial seismometers build up a dense network of instruments, helping scientists pinpoint what's causing the shakes those instruments feel. InSight's seismometer will be the only quake sense on all of Mars, so scientists had to rig the instrument to make sure they could still get the data they need. They'll also be hoping to see as many shakes as possible to maximize the data they can use and its precision.
Another challenge for the seismometer was eliminating all the other factors that could look like shakes to the super-sensitive instrument. That means the seismometer is decked out with a suite of sensors measuring factors like wind and pressure, which could be misinterpreted as marsquakes.
Once the seismometer has time to gather data on shakes, the team hopes to be able to map layers within Mars, since waves travel differently through rock under different conditions. The analysis could also potentially identify liquid water or plumes feeding volcanoes, although scientists aren't yet confident of that.
That underground-mapping project is paralleled by the work being done by a second instrument, a pair of incredibly precise radio transmitters. By bouncing signals to and from Earth and watching how they travel, scientists can identify where InSight is in space down to just a couple inches (a few centimeters).
Using that ultra-detailed location, the scientists can then watch the lander move over time and gradually map the tiny wobbles in how Mars rotates. Those wobbles reflect the planet's interior structure, specifically where its core falls on the spectrum between solid and liquid — the latter sloshes more.
InSight's final task is to deploy a heat probe that can hammer itself 16 feet (5 meters) below the Martian surface — much deeper than the mere inches that other spacecraft have drilled on planetary bodies.
The probe will measure how heat is rising through the planet, which should help scientists figure out where the heat is coming from. It can also produce its own brief flashes of heat and study how that heat flows through the surrounding rock, learning more about the rock that makes up the Martian crust.
All told, InSight's three projects will help scientists figure out how our neighbor was born and whether Mars was formed from the same mixture of materials as Earth and our moon. That could have implications for our broader understanding of how our solar system formed — and even for what we know about solar system formation more generally.
So get excited for the drama of landing — but remember, it's just the beginning for InSight.

Related Stories
NASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sisterNASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister
NASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the MoonNASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the Moon
SpaceX will launch its first 60 satellites to deliver internet from spaceSpaceX will launch its first 60 satellites to deliver internet from space
Jeff Bezos Builds a Moon ShipJeff Bezos Builds a Moon Ship
NASAs Mars Helicopter Testing Enters Final PhaseNASA's Mars Helicopter Testing Enters Final Phase
NASA captures stunning photo of the entire sky in X-rayNASA captures stunning photo of the entire sky in X-ray
Trump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its HeadTrump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its Head
Elon Musks SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps upElon Musk's SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps up
News Trends
Mohamed Morsy, ousted Egyptian president, dies in courtMohamed Morsy, ousted Egyptian president, dies in court
Gary Woodland has more than the US Open to celebrateGary Woodland has more than the US Open to celebrate
All The Celebrity Cameos In Taylor Swifts You Need To Calm Down Music VideoAll The Celebrity Cameos In Taylor Swift's You Need To Calm Down Music Video
Gloria Vanderbilt: farewell fashions innovative heiressGloria Vanderbilt: farewell fashion's innovative heiress
Harvard rescinds offer to Kyle Kashuv, pro-Second Amendment Parkland survivor, due to past remarks, he saysHarvard rescinds offer to Kyle Kashuv, pro-Second Amendment Parkland survivor, due to past remarks, he says
Lee Bowyer set to leave Charlton after failing to reach contract agreementLee Bowyer set to leave Charlton after failing to reach contract agreement
Taylor Swift Just Revealed All The Celebrities Who Will Appear In Her Upcoming VideoTaylor Swift Just Revealed All The Celebrities Who Will Appear In Her Upcoming Video
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Share Touching New Image of Baby ArchiePrince Harry and Meghan Markle Share Touching New Image of Baby Archie
Bella Thornes Ex Mod Sun Breaks Down the Passport SituationBella Thorne's Ex Mod Sun Breaks Down the Passport Situation
Usain Bolt Grinds On Hot IG Model Zahra EliseUsain Bolt Grinds On Hot IG Model Zahra Elise
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Related Stories
NASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sisterNASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister
NASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the MoonNASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the Moon
SpaceX will launch its first 60 satellites to deliver internet from spaceSpaceX will launch its first 60 satellites to deliver internet from space
Jeff Bezos Builds a Moon ShipJeff Bezos Builds a Moon Ship
NASAs Mars Helicopter Testing Enters Final PhaseNASA's Mars Helicopter Testing Enters Final Phase
NASA captures stunning photo of the entire sky in X-rayNASA captures stunning photo of the entire sky in X-ray
Trump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its HeadTrump Tweets About Moon, Mars, the Internet Scratches Its Head
Elon Musks SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps upElon Musk's SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps up
News Trends
Mohamed Morsy, ousted Egyptian president, dies in courtMohamed Morsy, ousted Egyptian president, dies in court
Gary Woodland has more than the US Open to celebrateGary Woodland has more than the US Open to celebrate
All The Celebrity Cameos In Taylor Swifts You Need To Calm Down Music VideoAll The Celebrity Cameos In Taylor Swift's You Need To Calm Down Music Video
Gloria Vanderbilt: farewell fashions innovative heiressGloria Vanderbilt: farewell fashion's innovative heiress
Harvard rescinds offer to Kyle Kashuv, pro-Second Amendment Parkland survivor, due to past remarks, he saysHarvard rescinds offer to Kyle Kashuv, pro-Second Amendment Parkland survivor, due to past remarks, he says
Lee Bowyer set to leave Charlton after failing to reach contract agreementLee Bowyer set to leave Charlton after failing to reach contract agreement
Taylor Swift Just Revealed All The Celebrities Who Will Appear In Her Upcoming VideoTaylor Swift Just Revealed All The Celebrities Who Will Appear In Her Upcoming Video
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Share Touching New Image of Baby ArchiePrince Harry and Meghan Markle Share Touching New Image of Baby Archie
Bella Thornes Ex Mod Sun Breaks Down the Passport SituationBella Thorne's Ex Mod Sun Breaks Down the Passport Situation
Usain Bolt Grinds On Hot IG Model Zahra EliseUsain Bolt Grinds On Hot IG Model Zahra Elise
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Jimmy Fallon Singing a Christina Aguilera Song With a Robot is Exactly as Creepy as It Sounds
American killed by isolated tribe on North Sentinel Island in Andamans
Rita Ora announces UK arena tour and she's coming to Birmingham - how to get tickets
Chelsea great Drogba retires from football
Donald Trump attempts political satire in Thanksgiving turkey pardon – video
Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists
Katy Perry edges out Taylor Swift, Beyonce to become highest-paid woman in music
Ariana Grande ditches engagement ring from Pete Davidson for friendship ring
Trump Thanks Saudi Arabia For Low Gas Prices After Jamal Khashoggi's Killing
Harry Redknapp sets out tactics in crab-stroking I’m A Celebrity debut
Wreck-It Ralph finally gives the internet what it deserves in Ralph Breaks the Internet
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane leave Republic of Ireland roles
Matthew Hedges: British academic accused of spying jailed for life in UAE
Devin Lima Dead: LFO Singer Dies Aged 41, After Adrenal Cancer Battle
1 killed in fiery Brooklyn Bridge crash
Cardi B Fulfills 'Childhood Dreams' After Purchasing Her Mom a New House
Harry and Meghan May Not Become William and Kate's Neighbors After All
Ivanka Trump Reportedly Used Personal Email Account For Official White House Business
Chris Watts Gets Life in Prison for Killing Daughters and Pregnant Wife
'Dancing With the Stars' crowns shocking winner
Police officer, 2 staffers killed in shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago
Kabul wedding hall blast kills 40, Afghan officials say
Facebook, Instagram go down, and some just can't deal
Taylor Swift Signs New Deal With Universal Music Group
Joe Theismann feels Alex Smith’s pain
Paul Gascoigne denies sexual assaulting woman on train
Nissan Renault chief Carlos Ghosn faces arrest in Japan
Stephen Colbert reveals why he returned to Catholicism
Hailey Baldwin Changes Last Name on Instagram as Justin Bieber Praises His 'Wife'
Elon Musk says a 'radical change' is coming to SpaceX's monster Mars rocket design
Browns’ stunning option for next head coach: Condoleezza Rice
Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Enjoy Double Date with Prince William & Kate Middleton at Royal Dinner
Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber appear to confirm marriage
Ariana Grande debuts a new look and people have a lot of opinions about it
WATCH: HBO’s Bill Maher destroys Trump for bungling his response to every national disaster that happens
Roger Federer OUT of ATP Finals as Alexander Zverev delivers shock upset
Jimmy Kimmel gets Michelle Obama to say things she couldn't say as First Lady
Ariana Grande’s 'thank u, next' Is the Breakup Song for the Social-Media Age
Is Julian Assange facing criminal charges in the US?
Butch Cassidy and Princess Bride scriptwriter William Goldman dies aged 87
Watch SpaceX launch and land a used Falcon 9 rocket
Kim Kardashian West: Kanye drawn more to Donald Trump's personality than his politics
Elton John's John Lewis Christmas ad: it could have been so different
After arrest, Michael Avenatti denies LA domestic violence
Carrie Underwood reveals the gender of her baby at CMAs
Jacob Rees-Mogg Demands Theresa May Resign - As Tory MPs Savage Brexit Deal
Bradley Cooper's Original 'A Star Is Born' Script Had an Ending Even More Faithful to the 1937 Original
‘Bill Clinton should want to apologize’: Monica Lewinsky opens up about scandal in new documentary
Who is Mira Ricardel? First Lady Melania Trump wants the national security official fired
Novak Djokovic sweeps aside Alexander Zverev at ATP Finals
Game of Thrones Season 8 Finally Has a Premiere Date
I’m A Celeb’s Emily Atack ‘keen to set record straight’ about fling with disgraced Strictly star Seann Walsh
Detective Pikachu: 'Gross' furry Pokemon divides fans
Mysterious interstellar object is not an alien probe, says astronomer who discovered it
Stan Lee's Greatness Will Never Be Forgotten
Amazon’s HQ2 will bring 25,000 jobs each to New York City and Northern Virginia
Sir Alex Ferguson tried three things to sign Joe Cole for Manchester United
Kim Kardashian Says 'Our Hearts Are Broken' as She Accepts People's Choice Award with Family
Trump Renews Attacks on NATO and Trade Imbalances
Michael Buble UK tour: How to get tickets for singer's Don't Believe the Rumours shows
'I felt like I failed': Michelle Obama opens up on miscarriage, IVF
National Action Trial: Two Found Guilty Of Being In Banned Neo-Nazi Group
Jeremy Corbyn Must Uphold Labour Brexit Policy On Second Referendum, Says Gordon Brown
The 22-Inch TRUMPY BEAR You've Never Wanted Is On Sale With 'Added Bonus'
Kate Upton, Justin Verlander share first picture of new baby
Watch Pete Davidson apologize to Dan Crenshaw face to face on 'SNL'
Brazilian Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel smashes Interlagos lap record
Meghan Markle conceals baby bump as she attends her first Remembrance Day ceremony
Emmanuel Macron warns of dangers of nationalism in Armistice Day speech
World leaders gather in Paris for Armistice Day – video
Spice Girls tickets cause MAYHEM as Ticketmaster goes into meltdown: 'My heart's breaking'
April Ryan Got Protection After Receiving Ominous Threats Following Trump Attacks
Outlaw King review – bold, watchable portrait of Robert the Bruce
Lady Gaga Opens Up About Her 'Mental Health Crisis'
Colbert Slams Huckabee Sanders for Circulating Doctored Video
Adriana Lima walks Victoria’s Secret runway for last time
'Camp Fire' inferno: North California town of Paradise 'wiped out' as thousands flee
Germany: Merkel warns of modern racism on Kristallnacht 80th
The Latest: Wildfire triggers evacuation order for Malibu
Michelle Obama reveals miscarriage and IVF treatment in new book
Iceland's Christmas TV advert banned for being too political
Sarah Hyland Knew About the Modern Family Pregnancy Reveal for Months
Did Ariana Grande Just Share The Tracklist For Her Next Album?
Tesla names Robyn Denholm new chairman, overseeing Elon Musk
Ruth Bader Ginsburg breaks ribs in fall
Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus was set to retire soon. He was killed in the Thousand Oaks attack
Thousand Oaks shooting: gunman kills 12 at California western bar
Lasers could help us attract aliens, MIT study suggests
Oh, no! Ariana Grande trips while performing new song about famous exes on 'Ellen'
Dan Crenshaw addresses Pete Davidson's panned 'SNL' joke during victory speech
'I'm as hopeful as I've ever been': Beto O'Rourke fails to beat Ted Cruz
Trump delivers for McConnell in Senate races
Pro-Trump pimp Dennis Hof wins Nevada election weeks after he died
See Kendall Jenner's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Evolution
Taylor Swift Makes Impassioned Personal Video Message Urging Fans to Vote
Emmanuel Macron: Six held in 'attack' plot against French president
Idris Elba is named People's Sexiest Man Alive for 2018
8 big questions for Election Day
SpaceX's 'Starman' and Its Tesla Roadster Are Now Beyond Mars
Rihanna doesn't want Trump playing her music at his 'tragic rallies,' but she may not have a choice
Floyd Mayweather to fight Japanese kickboxing sensation on New Year's Eve
'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 5 recap: What happened to Rick Grimes?
Election Day 2018: A nation on edge heads to the polls
FA launch James McClean investigation after he brands fans 'uneducated cavemen'
Trump Jr. calls Alec Baldwin ‘garbage’ in swipe over arrest
Ariana Grande Sings About Pete Davidson and Mac Miller in New Song 'Thank u, next'
Pete Davidson wishes Ariana Grande the best on SNL while she releases song thanking him
Melania Trump Spent Almost $100000 at a Hotel She Never Slept In
Former civil service chief Sir Jeremy Heywood dies aged 56
The X Factor forced to cancel live public vote over sound problems
Elon Musk and SpaceX are building a monster rocket for Mars. Here's how big it is compared to 20 familiar objects
Pete Davidson 'Unfazed' by Ariana Grande Diss: 'He'll Joke About His Life' Anyway, Says Source
2 dead after Amazon building partially collapses in Baltimore
How to Get Destiny 2 for Free on PC
Alec Baldwin denies punching man in face over parking dispute
Two victims and gunman identified in Tallahassee yoga studio shooting
Rashford’s late winner seals Manchester United comeback at Bournemouth
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Withdrawal? Here's When You Can Expect to See the Couple Again
Tesla's Elon Musk and Twitter: Is Anyone Actually Monitoring His Tweets?
Ariana Grande Uses BBC Music Special To Share Important Mental Health Message
'Bohemian Rhapsody' is about to introduce Queen's music to the Spotify generation
Two men arrested after stabbing at Sony Music's London HQ
'House of Cards': Six Things to Remember Before the Start of Season 6
Ariana Grande wears Mac Miller’s sweatshirt during tribute concert
Soyuz Already Back in the Saddle, with Crewed Launch Set for Early December
Neil Young confirms marriage to Daryl Hannah
Google walkout: global protests after sexual misconduct allegations
Oprah Winfrey to hit campaign trail in Georgia for Stacey Abrams
Arron Banks faces criminal inquiry over Brexit campaign
Jimmy Fallon's Count Trumpula Declares Victory in the War on Halloween: 'Ivanka Suck Your Blood'
Duchess Meghan turns heads in see-through skirt during royal tour
Survey: NBC's canceling of 'Megyn Kelly Today' is 'too harsh' after blackface comments
Meet the mob hitman suspected of killing Whitey Bulger
First look at Henry Cavill in The Witcher as he becomes Geralt of Rivia
A 5-year-old boy tested positive for meth after trick-or-treating. And it wasn't from the candy
Planning To Dress Up Your Pet For Halloween? Here's Why You Should Think Twice
Selena Gomez Isn't Instagram's Most Followed User Anymore, But She's Still Up There
Little Mix Say Nicki Minaj Was Approached For 'Woman Like Me' Collaboration Before Cardi B
Venice under water as deadly storms hit Italy
Suzy Lamplugh murder: police dig up garden at suspect's former home
George Clooney wins Hollywood's Halloween
Accusations versus accountability: Hollywood's complicated relationship with Johnny Depp
Apple launches new MacBook Air with retina display
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Cheer On the Boston Red Sox to a World Series Win
Lion Air plane crash: Debris found in sea off Jakarta, Indonesia
Student shot dead by classmate in NC high school after fight, police say
Angela Merkel To Step Down From Christian Democrat Party In December
Kellyanne Conway snaps after CNN’s John Berman reads her Trump’s divisive statements: ‘You’re cherry picking!’
Luis Suarez scores hat trick as Barcelona thrash Real Madrid in Clasico
Meghan and Harry attend NZ ceremony to mark first votes for women
'I just want to kill Jews:' Documents detail the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and name the dead
A R7.3 billion replica of the original Titanic could set sail across the Atlantic in 2022
Ross Barkley makes his mark as Chelsea cut down ineffectual Burnley
Meghan Markle Just Shared Her First Official Photo to Twitter — and It's a Proud Wife Moment
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Almost Featured a Big Tribute to Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Cesar Sayoc: The mail bomb suspect who drove a van plastered with Trump stickers
Sadio Mané scores twice as Liverpool ease past Cardiff on way to top
Glenn Hoddle ‘seriously ill’ after collapsing at BT Sport studios
Suspect in custody after ‘multiple casualties’ in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
1 Month to Mars! NASA's InSight Lander Nearing Red Planet Touchdown
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are basically Fenway regulars now
Ariana Grande reveals 'the absolute love of my life'
Johnny Depp leaves Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, say reports
NBC reports Megyn Kelly is negotiating her exit from network; would Fox take her back?
Tiffany Haddish slays James Brown impression in Jimmy Fallon's Lip Sync Battle
Suspicious packages addressed to Cory Booker and James Clapper discovered
Man arrested for trying to steal Magna Carta
Ruth Davidson gives birth to baby boy
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket seems to be a hit with satellite companies
'Modern Family' reveals death of a recurring character
Meghan Markle Had a Very Relatable Fashion Moment
Jennifer Garner Is Dating John Miller: 5 Things to Know About Her New Boyfriend
Red Dead Redemption 2 review – gripping western is a near miracle
Sir Philip Green named as man at heart of 'UK #MeToo scandal'
US mail bombs: Suspect packages sent to Robert De Niro and former Vice President Joe Biden
Cardi B trolls Nicki Minaj fans after new song ‘Money’ leaks
NASA May Have Fixed Hubble By Shaking It and Turning It Off and On
Kate Middleton slammed on for 'truly awful' '80s style banquet dress
Megyn Kelly Apologizes On-Air After a Today Colleague Calls Her Blackface Comments 'Indefensible'
Explosive device found near home of billionaire investor George Soros
Suspected bombs sent to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and CNN building: White House condemns 'terrorising acts' as 'despicable'
Vogue Responds to Backlash Over Kendall Jenner's 'Afro' in Recent Photo Shoot
Cardi B – 'Money'
Canadian Rapper Jon James McMurray Dies Filming Airplane Stunt
Amy Schumer Is Pregnant – And We Totally Love How She Announced It
Utah track athlete Lauren McCluskey shot and killed
Megyn Kelly doesn’t understand why blackface is racist
Manchester United v Juventus: Champions League
Dyson to build electric cars in Singapore, with launch planned for 2021
Tommy Robinson: judge refers case to attorney general
Erdogan says Khashoggi was victim of 'ferocious' pre-planned murder
Ariana Grande Posts Tribute to Mac Miller Days After Pete Davidson Breakup
Mars likely to have enough oxygen to support life: study
Simon Mayo Calls Out ‘Appalling’ Abuse Of Jo Whiley After Their Radio 2 Show Is Axed
WWE star Roman Reigns reveals he's battling leukemia again
New York Giants produce another offensive debacle vs. Atlanta Falcons
Meghan Markle wears same dress as Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend
Meghan Markle Just Broke Another Royal Style Rule with Her Most Daring Look Yet
Ouch! Paula Abdul Falls Offstage During Mississippi Concert
Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus star sends message to Sir Alex Ferguson before Man Utd return
Close