NASA is dropping a solar-powered lander onto Mars today — here’s what InSight will do on the red planet

nasa mars insight lander

NASA’s Mars InSight lander is set to hit the red planet’s surface this afternoon.
The robot will scan for Mars quakes, the Martian version of Earthquakes.
It will also give scientists a better idea of what the planet has been up to for the past 4.5 billion years.
Here’s a rundown of everything the lander can do.

NASA is about to put a solar-powered lander on Mars.

The robot is named InSight (which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport). The 794-pound laboratory is set to hit Martian soil on Monday, after six months of whizzing through space.

Assuming the landing is successful, InSight will pursue three main goals on Mars: taking the planet’s temperature, measuring its size, and monitoring for Mars quakes. Scientists at NASA say this work is kind of like giving the red planet a “checkup.”

Here’s what the roughly $828 million mission could accomplish.

SEE ALSO: NASA wants to send humans to Mars in the 2030s — here’s the step-by-step timeline

It took about six months for the InSight lander to travel 301 million miles from southern California to Mars.

NASA launched InSight from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 5.

InSight was hoisted aboard an Atlas V rocket along with a couple of tiny, toaster-sized cube satellites that flew to Mars as well. They’re called MarsCubeOne, and they’ll help relay InSight landing data back to Earth.

The rocket weighed about 730,000 pounds once it was ready for blastoff (including the fuel and payload).

Source: NASA

If everything goes according to plan, InSight will land on Mars at approximately 2:54 p.m. ET this afternoon.

Source: Business Insider

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Source:: Business Insider

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