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The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (''InSight'') mission is a
robotic Robotics is an interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary field that integrates computer science and engineering. Robotics involves design, construction, operation, and use of robots. The goal of robotics is to design machines that can help and assi ...
lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet
Mars Mars is the fourth planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to ...

Mars
. It was manufactured by
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Lockheed Martin Space is one of the four major business divisions of Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin Corporation is an American aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space. Aerospace activity ...
, is managed by NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency o ...
(JPL), and most of its scientific instruments were built by European agencies. The mission launched on 5 May 2018 at 11:05:01 UTC aboard an
Atlas V Atlas V is an expendable launch system An expendable launch system (or expendable launch vehicle/ELV) is a launch vehicle File:Soyuz TMA-5 launch.jpg, Russian Soyuz TMA-5 lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan heading for t ...
-401
launch vehicle File:Soyuz TMA-5 launch.jpg, Russian Soyuz TMA-5 lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan heading for the International Space Station A launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket engine, rocket-propelled vehicle used to carry a ...
and successfully landed at
Elysium Planitia Elysium Planitia, located in the Elysium and Aeolis Aeolis (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is o ...
on Mars on 26 November 2018 at 19:52:59 UTC. ''InSight'' traveled during its journey. As of , ''InSight'' has been active on Mars for sols (
days A day is approximately the period during which the Earth completes one rotation around its axis, which takes around 24 hours. A solar day is the length of time which elapses between the Sun reaching its highest point in the sky two consecutive t ...
; '). ''InSight'' objectives are to place a
seismometer A seismometer is an instrument that responds to ground motions, such as caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and explosions. Seismometers are usually combined with a timing device and a recording device to form a seismograph. The output of ...

seismometer
, called
Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) is a seismometer A seismometer is an instrument that responds to ground motions, such as caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and explosions. Seismometers are usually combined with a ti ...
(SEIS), on the surface of Mars to measure seismic activity and provide accurate 3D models of the planet's interior; and measure internal
heat transfer Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the generation, use, conversion, and exchange of thermal energy Thermal radiation in visible light can be seen on this hot metalwork. Thermal energy refers to several distinct ...

heat transfer
using a heat probe called HP3 to study Mars' early geological evolution. This could bring a new understanding of how the Solar System's
terrestrial planet A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet, is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate Rock (geology), rocks or metals. Within the Solar System, the terrestrial planets accepted by the IAU are the inner planets closest to the Su ...
s – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars – and Earth's Moon form and evolve. The lander was originally planned for launch in March 2016. An instrument problem delayed the launch beyond the 2016
launch window In the context of spaceflight, launch period is the collection of days and launch window is the time period on a given day during which a particular rocket must be launched in order to reach its intended target. If the rocket is not launched within ...
. NASA officials rescheduled the ''InSight'' launch to May 2018 and during the wait the instrument was repaired. This increased the total cost from US$675 million to US$830 million. As of January 2021, ''InSight'' is approved for extended operations through December 2022.


History


Discovery Program selection

''InSight'' was initially known as GEMS (Geophysical Monitoring Station), but its name was changed in early 2012 following a request by NASA. Out of 28 proposals from 2010, it was one of the three
Discovery Program Asteroid 433 Eros, Eros regolith, as viewed by Discovery's NEAR Shoemaker mission The Discovery Program is a series of Solar System exploration missions funded by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through its Planetar ...
finalists receiving $3 million in May 2011 to develop a detailed concept study. In August 2012, ''InSight'' was selected for development and launch. Managed by NASA's et Propulsion Laborator(JPL) with participation from scientists from several countries, the mission was cost-capped at US$425 million, not including launch vehicle funding. By reusing the landing system designed for the Mars ''Phoenix'' lander, which successfully landed on Mars in 2008, mission costs and risks were reduced.


Schedule issues

Lockheed Martin began construction of the lander on 19 May 2014, with general testing starting on 27 May 2015. A persistent vacuum leak in the
CNES The (CNES; French: ''Centre national d'études spatiales'') is the French government space agency (administratively, a "public administration with industrial and commercial purpose"). Its headquarters are located in central Paris Paris ...

CNES
-supplied seismometer known as the
Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) is a seismometer A seismometer is an instrument that responds to ground motions, such as caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and explosions. Seismometers are usually combined with a ti ...
(SEIS) led NASA to postpone the planned launch in March 2016 to May 2018. When ''InSight'' was delayed, the rest of the spacecraft was returned to Lockheed Martin's factory in
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It encompasses most of the Southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the wester ...

Colorado
for storage, and the Atlas V launch vehicle intended to launch the spacecraft was reassigned to the '' WorldView-4'' mission. On 9 March 2016, NASA officials announced that ''InSight'' would be delayed until the 2018 launch window at an estimated cost of US$150 million. The spacecraft was rescheduled to launch on 5 May 2018 for a Mars landing on 26 November 2018 at 20:00 UTC. The flight plan remained unchanged with launch using an Atlas V launch vehicle from
Vandenberg Air Force Base Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Space Force The United States Space Force (USSF) is the outer space, space military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, U.S. Armed Forces, one of the eight Uniformed s ...
in California. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was tasked with redesigning and building a new vacuum enclosure for the SEIS instrument, while CNES conducted instrument integration and testing. On 22 November 2017, ''InSight'' completed testing in a thermal vacuum, also known as TVAC testing, where the spacecraft is put in simulated space conditions with reduced pressure and various thermal loads. On 23 January 2018, after a long storage, its solar panels were once again deployed and tested, and a second silicon chip containing 1.6 million names from the public was added to the lander.


Energy crisis

The InSight lander, powered by solar panels and batteries, relies on periodic wind gusts called "cleaning events" to reduce dust accumulation on the panels. Elysium Planitia, the landing site of InSight, has experienced fewer cleaning events than needed to keep the science operations powered. In February 2021, at the start of the Martian winter, InSight's solar cells were producing 27% of capacity due to a thick covering of dust on the panels. At that time NASA began the process of putting the lander into hibernation mode, shutting down data-gathering instruments on a schedule to conserve enough power to keep the lander electronics warm through the Martian winter. NASA hopes that weather conditions will improve and allow InSight to store enough energy to come out of hibernation in July 2021. In May 2021, some generation capacity was restored by using the arm to position sand so it could blow onto the solar panels and scour them clean.


Science background


Seismic vibrations

Both ''Viking'' spacecraft carried seismometers mounted on their landers, and in 1976 picked up vibrations from various operations of the lander and from the wind. However, the ''
Viking 1 ''Viking 1'' was the first of two spacecraft File:Space Shuttle Columbia launching.jpg, 275px, The US Space Shuttle flew 135 times from 1981 to 2011, supporting Spacelab, ''Mir'', the Hubble Space Telescope, and the ISS. (''Columbia'' STS-1 ...

Viking 1
'' lander's seismometer did not deploy properly and did not unlock; the locked seismometer could not operate. The Viking 2 seismometer did unlock, and was able to vibrate and return data to Earth.https://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2013/pdf/1178.pdf One problem was accounting for other data. On Sol 80, the Viking 2 seismometer detected an event. No wind data were recorded at the same time, so it was not possible to determine whether the data indicated a seismic event or wind gust. Other lacking data would have been useful to rule out other sources of vibrations. Two other problems were the location of the lander and that a certain level of wind on Mars caused a loss of sensitivity for the Viking 2 seismometer. InSight has many other sensors, is placed directly on the surface, and also has a windshield. Despite the difficulties, the Viking 2 seismometer readings were used to estimate a Martian geological crust thickness between at the ''Viking 2'' lander site. The ''Viking 2'' seismometer did detect vibrations from Mars winds complementing the meteorology results. There was the aforementioned candidate for a possible
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, but is not particularly definitive. The wind data did prove useful in its own right, and despite the limitations of the data, widespread and large marsquakes were not detected. Seismometers were also left on the Moon, starting with
Apollo 11 Apollo 11 was the Human spaceflight, spaceflight that first Moon landing, landed humans on the Moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that landed the Apollo Lunar Module Lunar Module Eagle ...

Apollo 11
in 1969, and also by
Apollo 12 Apollo 12 (November 14–24, 1969) was the sixth crewed flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon. It was launched on November 14, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Commander Pete Conrad, Charles ...
, 14, and 16 missions and provided many insights into
lunar seismology Lunar seismology is the study of ground motions of the Moon and the events, typically impacts or moonquakes, that excite them. History Several seismograph, seismographic measuring systems have already been installed on the Moon and their data mad ...
, including the discovery of
moonquake A quake is the result when the surface of a planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is no ...
s. The Apollo seismic network, which was operated until 1977, detected at least 28 moonquakes up to 5.5 on the
Richter scale The Richter scale – also called the Richter magnitude scale or Richter's magnitude scale – is a measure of the strength of earthquakes, developed by Charles Francis Richter and presented in his landmark 1935 paper, where he called it the "m ...
. One of the aspects of the InSight mission is to compare the Earth, Moon, and Mars seismic data to learn more.


Planetary precession

Radio Doppler measurements were taken with ''Viking'' and twenty years later with ''
Mars Pathfinder ''Mars Pathfinder'' (''MESUR Pathfinder'') is an American robotic spacecraft that landed a base station with a rover (space exploration), roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a Lander (spacecraft), lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memoria ...

Mars Pathfinder
'', and in each case the
axis of rotation Rotation around a fixed axis is a special case of rotation A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center (or point) of rotation. The plane (geometry), geometric plane along which the rotation occurs is called the ''rotati ...
of Mars was estimated. By combining this data the core size was constrained, because the change in axis of rotation over 20 years allowed a
precession Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotational axis of a rotating body. In an appropriate reference frame it can be defined as a change in the first Euler angle, whereas the third Euler angle defines the rotation itself. In other ...

precession
rate and from that the planet's
moment of inertia The moment of inertia, otherwise known as the mass moment of inertia, angular mass, second moment of mass, or most accurately, rotational inertia, of a rigid body In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its E ...

moment of inertia
to be estimated. ''InSight'' measurements of crust thickness, mantle viscosity, core radius and density, and seismic activity should result in a three- to tenfold increase in accuracy compared to current data.


Objectives

The ''InSight'' mission placed a single stationary lander on Mars to study its deep interior and address a fundamental issue of planetary and Solar System science: understanding the processes that shaped the
rocky planets A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate Rock (geology), rocks or metals. Within the Solar System, the terrestrial planets accepted by the IAU are the inner planets closest to the Sun ...
of the inner Solar System (including Earth) more than four billion years ago. ''InSight'' primary objective is to study the earliest evolutionary processes that shaped Mars. By studying the size, thickness, density and overall structure of Mars'
core Core or cores may refer to: Science and technology * Core (anatomy) In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular dev ...
, mantle and crust, as well as the rate at which heat escapes from the planet's interior, ''InSight'' will provide a glimpse into the evolutionary processes of all of the rocky planets in the inner Solar System. The rocky inner planets share a common ancestry that begins with
accretion Accretion may refer to: Science * Accretion (astrophysics), the formation of planets and other bodies by collection of material through gravity * Accretion (meteorology), the process by which water vapor in clouds forms water droplets around nucle ...
. As the body increases in size, its interior heats up and evolves to become a
terrestrial planet A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet, is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate Rock (geology), rocks or metals. Within the Solar System, the terrestrial planets accepted by the IAU are the inner planets closest to the Su ...
, containing a core, mantle and crust. Despite this common ancestry, each of the terrestrial planets is later shaped and molded through the poorly understood process of
differentiation Differentiation may refer to: Business * Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products * Product differentiation, in marketing * Differentiated service, a service that varies with the identity o ...
. ''InSight'' mission's goal is to improve the understanding of this process and, by extension, terrestrial evolution, by measuring the planetary building blocks shaped by this differentiation: a terrestrial planet's core, mantle and crust. The mission will determine if there is any
seismic activity An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can range in size from those that ...

seismic activity
, measure the rate of heat flow from the interior, estimate the size of Mars'
core Core or cores may refer to: Science and technology * Core (anatomy) In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular dev ...
and whether the core is liquid or solid. This data would be the first of its kind for Mars. It is also expected that frequent meteor airbursts (10–200 detectable events per year for ''InSight'') will provide additional seismo-acoustic signals to probe the interior of Mars. The mission's secondary objective is to conduct an in-depth study of
geophysics Geophysics () is a subject of natural science Natural science is a Branches of science, branch of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Phenomenon, natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observat ...

geophysics
, tectonic activity and the effect of on Mars, which could provide knowledge about such processes on Earth. Measurements of crust thickness, mantle viscosity, core radius and density, and seismic activity should result in a three- to tenfold increase in accuracy compared to current data. This is the first time a robotic lander dug this deep into the martian crust. In terms of fundamental processes shaping planetary formation, it is thought that Mars contains the most in-depth and accurate historical record, because it is big enough to have undergone the earliest
accretion Accretion may refer to: Science * Accretion (astrophysics), the formation of planets and other bodies by collection of material through gravity * Accretion (meteorology), the process by which water vapor in clouds forms water droplets around nucle ...
and internal heating processes that shaped the terrestrial planets, but is small enough to have retained signs of those processes. The science phase is expected to last for two years. In March 2021, NASA reported, based on measurements of over 500
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s by the ''InSight'' lander on the planet Mars, that the core of Mars is between , about half the size of the
core Core or cores may refer to: Science and technology * Core (anatomy) In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular dev ...
of
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wit ...

Earth
, and significantly smaller — suggesting a core of lighter
element Element may refer to: Science * Chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all ...
s — than thought earlier.


Design

The mission further develops a design based on the 2008 ''Phoenix'' Mars lander. Because ''InSight'' is powered by
solar panels A solar cell panel, solar electric panel, photo-voltaic (PV) module or just solar panel is an assembly of photo-voltaic cells mounted in a framework for installation. Solar panels use sunlight Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic ...
, it landed near the equator to enable maximum power for a projected lifetime of two years (1 Martian year). The mission includes two relay microsatellites called
Mars Cube One Mars Cube One (or MarCO) was a Mars flyby mission launched on 5 May 2018 alongside NASA's ''InSight'' Mars lander mission. It consisted of two nanospacecraft, MarCO-A and MarCO-B, that provided a real-time communications link to Earth for ''InSig ...
(MarCO) that launched with ''InSight'' but were flying in formation with ''InSight'' to Mars. Three major aspects to the InSight spacecraft are the ''cruise stage'', the ''entry, descent, and landing system'', and the ''lander''.


Overall specifications

;Mass * Total mass during cruise: ** Lander: ** Aeroshell: Aeroshell Diameter (backshell and heat shield) : 2.64 meters (8.67 ft) ** Cruise stage: ** Propellant and pressurant: * Relay probes flew separately but they weighed each (there were 2)


Lander specifications

* Lander mass: including about 50 kg of science payload. ** Mars weight (0.376 of Earth's): * About wide with solar panels deployed. * The science deck is about wide and between high (depending on leg compression after landing). * The length of the robotic arm is * Tilt of lander at landing on Mars: 4°


Power

Power is generated by two round
solar panels A solar cell panel, solar electric panel, photo-voltaic (PV) module or just solar panel is an assembly of photo-voltaic cells mounted in a framework for installation. Solar panels use sunlight Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic ...
, each in diameter when unfurled, and consisting of SolAero ZTJ triple-junction solar cells made of InGaP/
InGaAs Indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) (alternatively gallium indium arsenide, GaInAs) is a ternary alloy (chemical compound) of indium arsenide (InAs) and gallium arsenide (GaAs). Indium and gallium are (Group 13 element, group III) elements of the per ...
/ arranged on
Orbital ATK Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (NGIS) was a sector (business segment) of Northrop Grumman Northrop Grumman Corporation () is an American multinational aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer ...
UltraFlex arrays. After touchdown on the Martian surface, the arrays are deployed by opening like a
folding fan Fold, folding or foldable may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Fold'' (album), the debut release by Australian rock band Epicure *Fold (poker) In the game of poker, the play largely centers on the act of gambling, betting, and as su ...

folding fan
. * Rechargeable batteries * Solar panels yielded 4.6 kilowatt-hours on Sol 1


Payload

''InSight'' lander
payload Payload is the carrying capacity of an aircraft or launch vehicle, usually measured in terms of weight. Depending on the nature of the flight or mission, the payload of a vehicle may include cargo, passengers, flight crew, munitions, scienti ...
has a total mass of , including science instruments and support systems such as the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Suite, cameras, the instrument deployment system, and a laser retroreflector. ''InSight'' performs three major experiments using SEIS, HP3 and RISE. SEIS is a very sensitive seismometer, measuring vibrations; HP3 involves a burrowing probe to measure the thermal properties of the subsurface. RISE uses the radio communication equipment on the lander and on Earth to measure the overall movement of planet Mars that could reveal the size and density of its core. * The
Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) is a seismometer A seismometer is an instrument that responds to ground motions, such as caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and explosions. Seismometers are usually combined with a ti ...
(SEIS) is measuring
marsquake Illustration of the shadow zone of a P-wave for Earth. S-waves don't penetrate the outer core">S-wave.html" ;"title="P-wave for Earth. S-wave">P-wave for Earth. S-waves don't penetrate the outer core A marsquake is a Quake (natural phenomenon), qua ...
s and other internal activity on Mars, and the response to meteorite impacts, to better understand the planet's history and structure. SEIS was provided by the French Space Agency (
CNES The (CNES; French: ''Centre national d'études spatiales'') is the French government space agency (administratively, a "public administration with industrial and commercial purpose"). Its headquarters are located in central Paris Paris ...

CNES
), with the participation of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris ( IPGP), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (
ETH Eth (, uppercase Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minuscule'') in the written represe ...
), the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (
MPS A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) ...
),
Imperial College , mottoeng = Scientific knowledge, the crowning glory and the safeguard of the empire , established = 1907 by royal charter , type = Public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the ...

Imperial College
, Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace ( ISAE) and JPL. The seismometer can also detect sources including atmospheric waves and tidal forces from Mars' moon Phobos (moon), Phobos. A leak in SEIS in 2016 had forced a two-year mission postponement. The SEIS instrument is supported by meteorological tools including a vector magnetometer provided by University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA that measures magnetic disturbances, air temperature, wind speed and wind direction sensors based on the Spanish/Finnish Rover Environmental Monitoring Station; and a barometer from Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL. * The Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) includes a radiometer and a heat flow probe. The probe, referred to as a "self-hammering nail" and nicknamed "the mole", was designed to burrow below the Martian surface while trailing a tether with embedded heat sensors to study the thermal properties of Mars' interior, and thus reveal unique information about the planet's geologic history. The tether contains precise temperature sensors every to measure the temperature profile of the subsurface. * The Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE) led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is a radio science experiment that uses the lander's X band radio to provide precise measurements of planetary rotation to better understand the interior of Mars. X band radio tracking, capable of an accuracy under , builds on previous Viking program and ''
Mars Pathfinder ''Mars Pathfinder'' (''MESUR Pathfinder'') is an American robotic spacecraft that landed a base station with a rover (space exploration), roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a Lander (spacecraft), lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memoria ...

Mars Pathfinder
'' data. The previous data allowed the
core Core or cores may refer to: Science and technology * Core (anatomy) In common parlance, the core of the body is broadly considered to be the torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on this part of the body, and lack of core muscular dev ...
size to be estimated, but with more data from ''InSight'', the nutation amplitude can be determined. Once spin axis direction, precession, and nutation amplitudes are better understood, it should be possible to calculate the size and density of the Martian core and mantle. This should increase the understanding of the formation of terrestrial planets (e.g. Earth) and rocky exoplanets. * Temperature and Winds for InSight (TWINS), fabricated by the Spanish Astrobiology Center, monitors Climate of Mars, weather at the landing site. * Laser RetroReflector for InSight (LaRRI) is a corner cube retroreflector provided by the Italian Space Agency and mounted on ''InSight'' top deck. It enables passive Laser rangefinder, laser range-finding by orbiters after the lander is retired, and will function as a node in a proposed Mars geophysical network. This device previously flew on the Schiaparelli EDM lander, ''Schiaparelli'' lander as the Instrument for Landing-Roving Laser Retroreflector Investigations (INRRI), and is an aluminum dome in diameter and in mass featuring eight fused silica reflectors. * Instrument Deployment Arm (IDA) is a robotic arm that deployed the SEIS, wind and thermal shield, and HP3 instruments to Mars' surface. It is a 4 Degrees of freedom (mechanics), DOF motorized manipulator, constructed from Carbon fiber reinforced polymer, carbon-fiber composite tubes. Originally intended for the canceled Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander, Mars Surveyor mission, the IDA features a scoop, Wax motor, wax actuated grappling claw, and the IDC camera. * The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) is a color camera based on the Mars Exploration Rover and Mars Science Laboratory navcam design. It is mounted on the Instrument Deployment Arm and images the instruments on the lander's deck and provides stereoscopy, stereoscopic views of the terrain surrounding the landing site. It features a 45° field of view and uses a 1024 × 1024 pixel charge-coupled device, CCD detector. The IDC sensor was originally black and white for best resolution; a program was enacted that tested with a standard Hazcam and, since development deadlines and budgets were met, it was replaced with a color sensor. * The Instrument Context Camera (ICC) is a color camera based on the MER/MSL Hazcam design. It is mounted below the lander's deck, and with its wide-angle lens, wide-angle 120° panoramic field of view provides a complementary view of the instrument deployment area. Like the IDC, it uses a 1024 × 1024 pixel charge-coupled device, CCD detector. The two relay 6U cubesats were part of the overall InSight program, and were launched at the same time as the lander but they were attached to the centaur upper stage (InSight's second stage in the launch). They were ejected from the stage after launch and coasted to Mars independent of the main InSight cruise stage with the lander.


Journey to Mars


Launch

On 28 February 2018, ''InSight'' was shipped via Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, C-17 cargo aircraft from the Lockheed Martin Space Systems building in Denver to the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in order to be integrated to the launch vehicle. The lander was launched on 5 May 2018 and arrived on Mars at approximately 19:54 UTC on 26 November 2018. The spacecraft was launched on 5 May 2018 at 11:05 UTC on an Atlas V 401 launch vehicle (AV-078) from Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 3, Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 3-East. This was the first American interplanetary mission to launch from California. The launch was managed by NASA's Launch Services Program. ''InSight'' was originally scheduled for launch on 4 March 2016 on an
Atlas V Atlas V is an expendable launch system An expendable launch system (or expendable launch vehicle/ELV) is a launch vehicle File:Soyuz TMA-5 launch.jpg, Russian Soyuz TMA-5 lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan heading for t ...
401 (4 meter fairing/zero (0) solid rocket boosters/single (1) engine Centaur (rocket stage), Centaur) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, U.S., but was called off in December 2015 due to a vacuum leak on the SEIS instrument. The rescheduled launch window ran from 5 May to 8 June 2018. Major components of the launch vehicle include: * Common Core Booster * This launch did not use additional solid rocket boosters * Centaur (rocket stage), Centaur with Relay CubeSats * InSight in a Payload fairing The journey to Mars took 6.5 months across for a touchdown on 26 November. After a successful landing, a three-month-long deployment phase commenced as part of its two-year (a little more than one Martian year) prime mission.


Cruise

After its launch from Earth on 5 May in 2018, it coasted through interplanetary space for 6.5 months traveling across for a touchdown on 26 November in that year. InSight cruise stage departed Earth at a speed of . The MarCo probes were ejected from the 2nd stage Centaur booster and traveled to Mars independent of the InSight cruise stage, but they were all launched together. During the cruise to Mars, the InSight cruise stage made several course adjustments, and the first of these (TCM-1) took place on 22 May 2018. The cruise stage that carries the lander includes solar panels, antenna, star trackers, sun sensor, inertial measurement unit among its technologies. The thrusters are actually on the ''InSight'' lander itself, but there are cutouts in the shell so the relevant rockets can vent into space. The final course correction was 25 November 2018, the day before its touch down. A few hours before making contact with the Martian atmosphere, the cruise stage was jettisoned, on 26 November 2018.


Entry, descent, and landing

On 26 November 2018, at approximately 19:53 UTC, mission controllers received a signal via the
Mars Cube One Mars Cube One (or MarCO) was a Mars flyby mission launched on 5 May 2018 alongside NASA's ''InSight'' Mars lander mission. It consisted of two nanospacecraft, MarCO-A and MarCO-B, that provided a real-time communications link to Earth for ''InSig ...
(MarCO) satellites that the spacecraft had successfully touched down at
Elysium Planitia Elysium Planitia, located in the Elysium and Aeolis Aeolis (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is o ...
. After landing, the mission took three months to deploy and commission the geophysical science instruments. It then began its mission of observing Mars, which is planned to last for two years. The spacecraft's mass that entered the atmosphere of Mars was . There were three major stages to InSight's landing: * Entry: after separating from the cruise stage the aeroshell enters the atmosphere and is subject to air and dust in the Martian atmosphere. * Parachute descent: at a certain speed and altitude a parachute is deployed to slow the lander further. * Rocket descent: closer to the ground the parachute is ejected and the lander uses rocket engines to slow the lander before touchdown. Landing sequence: * 25 November 2018, final course correction before EDL. * 26 November 2018, Cruise stage jettisoned before entering the atmosphere. * Several minutes later, the aeroshell containing the lander makes contact with the upper Martian atmosphere at . ** At this point it is above Mars and in the next few minutes it lands, but undergoes many stages. * Aeroshell is heated to during descent. * At and ~ above the surface, the parachute is deployed. * Several seconds later, the heat shield is jettisoned from the lander. * The landing legs extended. * Landing radar activated. * Backshell jettisoned at a speed of about and at altitude. * Landing rockets turned on. * Roughly from the ground constant velocity mode is entered. * Approaches ground at about . * Touchdowneach of the three lander legs have a sensor to detect ground contact. * Descent rockets are turned off at touchdown. * Begin surface operations. The lander's mass is about but on Mars, which has 0.376 of Earth's gravity, it only weighs the equivalent of a object on Earth. On 26 November 2018, InSight successfully touched down in Elysium Planitia. A few hours after landing, NASA's ''2001 Mars Odyssey'' orbiter relayed signals indicating that ''InSight''
solar panels A solar cell panel, solar electric panel, photo-voltaic (PV) module or just solar panel is an assembly of photo-voltaic cells mounted in a framework for installation. Solar panels use sunlight Sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic ...
had successfully unfurled and are generating enough electrical power to recharge its batteries daily. ''Odyssey'' also relayed a pair of images showing ''InSight'' landing site. More images were acquired in Stereoscopy#Space exploration, stereo pairs to create 3D images, allowing ''InSight'' to find the best locations on the surface to place the heat probe and seismometer. Over the next few weeks, ''InSight'' checked health indicators and monitor both weather and temperature conditions at the landing site.


Landing site

As ''InSight'' science goals are not related to any particular surface feature of Mars, potential landing sites were chosen on the basis of practicality. Candidate sites needed to be near the equator of Mars to provide sufficient sunlight for the solar panels year round, have a low elevation to allow for sufficient atmospheric braking during Entry, descent and landing, EDL, be flat and relatively rock-free to reduce the probability of complications during landing, and have soft enough terrain to allow the heat flow probe to penetrate well into the ground. An optimal area that meets all these requirements is
Elysium Planitia Elysium Planitia, located in the Elysium and Aeolis Aeolis (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is o ...
, so all 22 initial potential landing sites were located in this area. The only two other areas on the equator and at low elevation, Isidis Planitia and Valles Marineris, are too rocky. In addition, Valles Marineris has too steep a gradient to allow safe landing. In September 2013, the initial 22 potential landing sites were narrowed down to four, and the ''Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter'' was then used to gain more information on each of the four potential sites before a final decision was made. Each site consists of a landing footprint, landing ellipse that measures about . In March 2017, scientists from the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency o ...
announced that the landing site had been selected. It is located in western Elysium Planitia at . The landing site is about north from where the Curiosity (rover), ''Curiosity'' rover is operating in Gale (crater), Gale Crater. On 26 November 2018, the spacecraft successfully touched down at its landing site, and in early December 2018 ''InSight'' lander and EDL components were imaged from space on the surface of Mars. The images provided precise position of the lander: .


Surface operations

On 26 November 2018, NASA reported that the ''InSight'' lander had landed successfully on Mars. The meteorological suite (Temperature and Winds for InSight, TWINS) and magnetometer were operational, and the mission took approximately three months to deploy and commission the geophysical science instruments. After landing, the dust was allowed to settle for a few hours, during which time the solar array motors were warmed up and then the solar panels were unfurled. The lander then reported its systems' status, acquired some images, and it powered down to sleep mode for its first night on Mars. On its first sol on Mars it set a new solar power record of 4.6 kilowatt-hours generated for a single Martian day (known as a Timekeeping on Mars, "sol"). This amount is enough to support operations and deploy the sensors. On 7 December 2018, ''InSight'' recorded the sounds of Martian winds with SEIS, which is able to record vibrations within human hearing range, although rather low (aka subwoofer-type sounds), and these were sent back to Earth. This was the first time the sound of Mars wind was heard after two previous attempts. On 19 December 2018, the SEIS instrument was deployed onto the surface of Mars next to the lander by its robotic arm, and it was commissioned on 4 February 2019. After the seismometer became fully operational, the heat probe instrument was deployed on 12 February 2019. On 28 February 2019, the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package probe (HP³) started digging into the surface of Mars. The probe and its digging mole were intended to reach a maximum depth of but it only went about , or three-quarters of the way out of its housing structure. After many attempts, the effort was given up as a failure in January 2021. In April 2019, NASA reported that the Mars ''InSight'' lander detected its first
marsquake Illustration of the shadow zone of a P-wave for Earth. S-waves don't penetrate the outer core">S-wave.html" ;"title="P-wave for Earth. S-wave">P-wave for Earth. S-waves don't penetrate the outer core A marsquake is a Quake (natural phenomenon), qua ...
. In September 2019, researchers reported that ''InSight'' uncovered unexplained Magnetic anomaly, magnetic pulses, and Schumann resonances, magnetic oscillations. In October 2019, the researchers at JPL concluded that the soil on Mars does not provide necessary friction for drilling, causing the mole to bounce around and form a wide pit around itself rather than dig deeper. They attempted a maneuver called in which they pressed the side of the scoop against the mole location to pin the side of the wall of the hole and increase friction. Pinning was initially successful, but then the mole backed out of its hole after a few weeks, suggesting the soil is accumulating below the mole. On 24 February 2020, a summary of studies over the past year from InSight was presented which indicated that the planet Mars has active quakes, dust devils and magnetic pulses. In February 2020, according to new data gathered from NASA's InSight lander, it was found that the Martian magnetic field at the landing site is about 10 times stronger than previously thought, and fluctuates rapidly. In February 2020, the team reevaluated the risks of pushing the scoop directly against the back cap of the mole, and determined the procedure to be acceptable. In June 2020, the team reported that the mole was finally underground, and was being evaluated to determine if the mole was able to dig as designed. On 9 July 2020, it was revealed that images taken on 20 June 2020 showed the mole bouncing again, indicating that it did not have sufficient friction to dig deeper. One suggested solution was to partially fill the hole with soil to increase friction. By August 2020, the operations team had made some progress using the scoop to assist the mole in digging deeper into its hole, by pressing against the back. The scoop was used to fill the hole of the partially submerged mole, burying it fully for the first time. The team hoped the mole can now dig further into the surface on its own, possibly with the additional assistance of the scoop. On 14 January 2021, the heat probe part of the mission was declared to be over, after the science team had determined that the soil properties at the landing location were too different from what the instrument had been designed for. The team attempted many different remedies over nearly two years to get the mole burrowing, but in the end, the attempts did not succeed. The friction between the soil and the probe was not enough for the mole to hammer itself deeper. Final attempts to get the probe deeper took place on 9 January 2021; after they proved unsuccessful, the decision was made to leave the probe as is and end attempts to dig deeper. The mole did (with all the assisting measures) burrow itself completely underground; the top of the mole is 2 to 3 centimetres below the Martian surface (with the mole itself being about 40 centimetres in length, the depth was thus about 43 centimetres). To be able to produce useful scientific measurement, the mole should have dug itself at least 3 metres deep. Although unsuccessful, the mole's operations did teach the mission team a lot about the soil at the InSight site, about conducting excavation/drilling on Mars, and about operating the lander's robotic arm (through the mole-rescue effort that used the arm in ways that were unplanned before the mission). Although the heat probe instrument (HP³) operations were ended, the seismometer (SEIS), radio experiment (RISE) and the weather instruments (TWINS) continue to operate as the lander's Mars surface mission was extended by two years, until end of December 2022. In early 2021, the InSight team announced they would attempt to detect the arrival of the Mars 2020 mission using InSight's seismometers. Pre-landing modelling of the signals from Mars 2020's entry, descent and landing sequence suggested that the most probable source of any potential signal would be the impact of the spacecraft's cruise mass balance devices with the Martian surface, at speeds of around 4000 m/s. On 12 April 2021, it was reported that Insight went into emergency hibernation because its Solar panels on spacecraft, Solar panels were filled with Martian soil, Martian dust. On 14 April, the lander began to transmit images after waking from hibernation. On 3 May 2021, InSight used its robotic arm to trickle sand beside a solar panel. The InSight team wanted to let the sand blow away and touch the solar panels, sticking some dust particles to it, before leaving the solar panel. The sand trickle resulted in a boost in power of 30 watt-hours per sol. In July 2021 three papers studying Mars' interior structure were published. Seismometer data confirms that the center of Mars is molten. The crust of Mars is thinner than expected and may have two or three sub-layers.


MarCO spacecraft

The
Mars Cube One Mars Cube One (or MarCO) was a Mars flyby mission launched on 5 May 2018 alongside NASA's ''InSight'' Mars lander mission. It consisted of two nanospacecraft, MarCO-A and MarCO-B, that provided a real-time communications link to Earth for ''InSig ...
(MarCO) spacecraft are a pair of 6U CubeSats that piggybacked with the ''InSight'' mission to test CubeSat navigation and endurance in deep space, and to help relay real-time communications (with an eight-minute lightspeed delay) during the probe's entry, descent and landing (EDL) phase. The two 6U CubeSats, named MarCO A and B, are identical. They were launched along with ''InSight'', but separated soon after reaching space, and they flew as a pair for redundancy while flanking the lander. They did not enter orbit, but flew past Mars during the EDL phase of the mission and relayed ''InSight'' telemetry in real time. The success of the MarCO spacecraft proved the viability of the cubesat platform for deep space missions and helped serve as a technical demonstration for potential future missions of a similar nature. On 5 February 2019, NASA reported that the CubeSats went silent, and are unlikely to be heard from again. * Mass: each. * Dimensions: each * Each has a Reflective array antenna, reflectarray high gain antenna * Miniaturized radio operating in UHF (receive only) and X-band (receive and transmit). * They carry a miniature wide-angle camera. *Cold gas thrusters for attitude adjustments. * Star tracker for navigation.


Team and participation

The ''InSight'' science and engineering team includes scientists and engineers from many disciplines, countries and organizations. The science team assigned to ''InSight'' includes scientists from institutions in the U.S., France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom. Mars Exploration Rover project scientist W. Bruce Banerdt is the principal investigator for the ''InSight'' mission and the lead scientist for the SEIS instrument. Suzanne Smrekar, whose research focuses on the thermal evolution of planets and who has done extensive testing and development on instruments designed to measure the thermal properties and heat flow on other planets, is the lead for ''InSight'' HP3 instrument. The Principal Investigator for RISE is William Folkner at JPL.Mars InSight Landing Press Kit
(PDF) NASA. Published: November 2018.
The SEIS Instrument PI is Philippe Lognonné of IPGP, and the HP3 Instrument PI is Tilman Spohn of the DLR Institute of Planetary Research. The ''InSight'' mission team also includes project manager Tom Hoffman and deputy project manager Henry Stone. Major contributing agencies and institutions are: * National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) * Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) * German Aerospace Center (DLR) * Italian Space Agency (ASI) *
Jet Propulsion Laboratory The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency o ...
(NASA/JPL) * Lockheed Martin * Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris Institute of Earth Physics (IPGP) * ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) * Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) * Imperial College London * Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace (ISAE-SUPAERO) * University of Oxford * Spanish Astrobiology Center (CAB) * Space Research Centre of Polish Academy of Sciences (CBK)


Name chips

As part of its public outreach, NASA organized a program where members of the public were able to have their names sent to Mars aboard ''InSight''. Due to its launch delay, two rounds of sign-ups were conducted totaling 2.4 million names: 826,923 names were registered in 2015 and a further 1.6 million names were added in 2017. An Electron-beam lithography, electron beam was used to Etching (microfabrication), etch letters only the width of a human hair (1 Micrometre, μm) onto silicon wafers. The first chip was installed on the lander in November 2015 and the second on 23 January 2018.


Gallery

PIA20278insightcausa.jpg, InSight lander loaded on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III (December 2015) PIA22232insightlandingonmars.jpg, InSight landing zone target with other NASA landing zones Elysium Planitia labelled view.jpg, Global view of Mars, InSight landed in Elysium Plantia, ''Curiosity'' rover is in Gale crater InSight Profile of InSight entry, descent and landing events.jpg, Entry, Descent, and Landing sequence for InSight PIA23278-Mars-InSightLanderTestSandbox-ActorBradPitt-20190906.jpg, Actor Brad Pitt visits the InSight test "sandbox" (September 2019). PIA23349-Mars-InSightLander-RollingStonesRock-20181126.jpg, "Rolling Stones Rock"
a result from the landing
(November 2018)


Context map


See also

* *


References


External links


''InSight''
NASA – InSight Mission
''InSight''
NASA – InSight Raw Images
''InSight''
NASA – (video/03:31; 18 November 2018; Details)
''InSight''
NASA – (video/01:38; 26 November 2018; Landing)
''InSight''
NASA – (video/01:39; 1 December 2018; Wind Sounds)
''InSight''
NASA – (video/02:48; 19 July 2019; MarsQuakes) * Atmosphere of Mars, Mars Weather
''Perseverance''''Curiosity''''InSight''
!---()---> {{Portal bar, Geology, Solar System, Science, Spaceflight InSight, Discovery Program Geology of Mars Landers (spacecraft) Missions to Mars NASA space probes Spacecraft launched by Atlas rockets Space probes launched in 2018 Soft landings on Mars 2018 on Mars