InSight, which has already started sending back photos from the red planet, is "the first mission to go to Mars to try to probe deep into the planet and understand the structure of the interior", says Banerdt, "the size of the core, the thickness of the crust, the composition of the inside."The missions before InSight looked at the geology, surface chemistry and atmosphere of Mars, but nothing deeper, says Banerdt".
The InSight mission has three main objectives: deploy French-British seismometers to measure any potential "Marsquakes"; activate a German "mole" which will burrow 16.4 feet (five meters) down to take temperature readings from the planet: and a third experiment will use radio waves to determine how Mars is wobbling on its axis.
InSight's primary instrument for studying the Martian interior, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, was developed through the coordinated efforts of engineers in France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The robot has now dusted itself off and has sent back the first images of its view on the surface of the Red planet. On a clear day, the panels provide 600 to 700 watts - enough power to run a kitchen blender and conduct science.
The landing of InSight was also a test for Mars Cube One (MarCO), a flyby of two miniaturized and low-cost satellites called CubeSats that were used to relay InSight's telemetry to Earth during the spacecraft's entry, descent and landing, as radio signals directly from InSight to Earth were blocked by Mars itself.
The area where InSight is landing is called Elysium Planitia, a particularly flat area of Mars where hazardous loose rocks are absent.
The photograph which portrays the InSight spacecraft in the front and Martian surface in addition is an implausible observation at a world that has terminated most of the landers that have attempted to journey there.
A former member of Northern Michigan University's Board of Trustees is in a key role at NASA, where scientists are celebrating Monday's successful touchdown on Mars. Those spacecrafts generally go in a north-south orbit, so when an orbiter is going over InSight, it's also going over Curiosity on the same orbit.
An image of Mars taken MarCO-B two days before InSight landed.
"(Goodwin) did it better than we did it", Gene said. "They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as "tag-alongs" on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing". NASA's next mission, the Mars 2020 rover, will prowl for rocks that might contain evidence of ancient life. "It's been exciting to see the view from nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface". As MarCO-A flew by Mars, it transmitted signals through the martian atmosphere.
InSight's mission voyage to Mars and ongoing communications will also be supported by the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC), which is managed by the CSIRO on behalf of NASA. "During that short span of time, InSight had to autonomously perform dozens of operations and do them flawlessly - and by all indications that is exactly what our spacecraft did".