After decades of exploring the surface of the red planet, this is the first mission to explore its interior and discover if 4,000 million years ago was habitable, and why, apparently, it is not.
With the successful launch of the InSight mission, NASA is one step closer to knowing the bowels of Mars, the Earth’s neighbor planet that is on average about 225 million kilometers. After decades of exploration of the surface of the red planet, this morning the first robotic vehicle of NASA took off whose mission will be to explore the interior of the red planet.
Although there are other missions underway on Mars, such as the Curiosity (the range rover that has been analyzing the surface and atmosphere of the fourth planet of the solar system for the past three years), the Insight is the first robotic vehicle that will expose the nucleus of that planet.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket carries inside the robotic vehicle that will be responsible for exploring the core of Mars, with the aim of expanding knowledge about its formation and that of other rocky planets, such as Earth.
So far, missions to Mars have captured images of the surface, studied rocks, dug into the earth and searched for clues about the water that once flowed on Mars, but it has never been investigated in its interior. “99.9% of this planet has never been observed before. We are going to study it with our seismometer and our heat flow probe for the first time, “said Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal researcher, at the press conference before the launch.
The question that the Insight wants to answer is this: why was the planet apparently habitable 4 billion years ago, and now there is only ice on its surface? As explained by AFP, the probe will use a seismometer that will measure the vibrations caused by the internal activity of Mars. Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) will describe the size, composition, and condition of the core of the red planet, the thickness, and structure of its crust and mantle, the temperature of the interior, as well as the frequency in the that the planet receives meteorite impacts.
According to Diario Libre, the mission should have been launched in March 2016, but a leak in the vacuum chamber surrounding the seismometer of the lender forced the delay.
Insight is expected to reach Mars in November 2018 and remain there for two years.
Relive the takeoff here: