TechnologyNew lander will add to humans' long fascination with Mars
NASA likens Mars InSight lander parking spot to kale salad
Don't judge a Mars mission by its landscape.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In our solar system family, Mars is Earth's next-of-kin, the next-door relative that has captivated humans for millennia.
The attraction is sure to grow with Monday's arrival of a NASA lander named InSight.
InSight should provide our best look yet at Mars' deep interior. The probe is equipped with a mechanical mole to tunnel underground to measure internal heat. It also has a seismometer to register quakes, meteorite strikes and anything else that might start the red planet shaking.
Scientists consider Mars a tantalizing time capsule because it retains much of its early history. By studying the preserved heart of Mars, InSight could teach us how our solar system's rocky planets formed 4 1/2 billion years ago and why they turned out so different.
Mars InSight deploys French-made quake sensor on Red Planet.
The US space agency's unmanned Mars Insight lander, which touched down on the Red Planet last month, has successfully deployed its key, quake-sensing instrument on the alien world's surface, NASA said Thursday. The seismometer, known as the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS, was made by the French space agency, CNES. "Seismometer deployment is as important as landing InSight on Mars," said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The seismometer is the highest-priority instrument on InSight: We need it in order to complete about three-quarters of our science objectives.
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