NASA launches InSight spacecraft bound for Mars1 min read

Lander will be tracked by mini satellites before it begins probing red planet’s ‘inner space’

NASA has launched a spacecraft to land on Mars and explore the mysterious insides of the red planet.

The Mars InSight lander rocketed away Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the first interplanetary mission ever to depart from the U.S. West Coast.

 It will take more than six months for the spacecraft to reach Mars and start its unprecedented geologic excavations.

The lander will dig deeper into Mars than ever before — nearly 16 feet, or five metres — to take the planet’s temperature. It will also attempt to make the first measurements of marsquakes, using a seismometer placed directly on the Martian surface.

A special transmitter on the lander will send radio signals back to Earth, tracking Mars’ subtle rotational wobble to reveal the size of the planet’s core and possibly whether it remains molten.

The Atlas V (five) rocket also holds a pair of mini satellites meant to trail InSight all the way to Mars in a first-of-its-kind technology demonstration.​

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Sebastien Clarke

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