InSight Will Take the 'Vital Signs' of MarsInSight will study the deep interior of Mars, taking the planet's vital signs, its pulse and temperature. This makes InSight the first mission to give Mars a thorough checkup since the planet formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Previous missions to the Red Planet have investigated its surface by studying its canyons, volcanoes, rocks and soil. But the signatures of the planet's formation can only be found by sensing and studying its vital signs far below the surface.
Taking the Planet’s PulseThe InSight lander carries a seismometer, SEIS, that listens to the pulse of Mars. The seismometer records the waves traveling through the interior structure of a planet. Studying seismic waves tells us what might be creating the waves. On Mars, scientists suspect that the culprits may be marsquakes, or meteorites striking the surface.
Taking the Planet's TemperatureInSight's heat flow probe, HP3, burrows deeper than any other scoops, drills or probes on Mars before it. It will investigate how much heat is still flowing out of Mars. Its observations will shed light on whether Earth and Mars are made of the same stuff, and provide a sneak peek into how the planet evolved.
Checking the Planet's ReflexesLike Earth, Mars wobbles a little as it rotates around its axis. To study this, two radio antennas, part of the RISE instrument, track the location of the lander very precisely. This helps scientists test the planet's reflexes and tells them how the deep interior structure affects the planet's motion around the Sun.
InSight Science Goals:
To uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet by investigating the interior structure and composition of Mars. The mission will also determine the rate of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts.
InSight Has Three Science Instruments
All of InSight's science tools are designed to help the lander look back in time, to when the rocky planets of the Solar System first formed. Their measurements are interrelated and help inform each other.