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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Off To Mars

Off To Mars

InSight launched, Vanderberg AF Base, 5-5-2018 (credit: JPL)


NASA's newest robotic mission was launched to Mars. InSight Mars Lander departed in a blazing lift-off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that built the geology probe, InSight road atop the Centaur rocket's second stage and reached orbit shortly after launch. An hour later, the rocket ignited a second time, sending InSight on a trajectory towards the Red Planet. The spacecraft, carrying two CubeSats, then separated from the rocket and headed to Mars. The CubeSats are designed to monitor InSight for a brief period before landing and transmit the data back to the JPL. The mini-satellites are a demonstration of potential future, deep-space communications capability.

During its flight, JPL managers will check spacecraft's computers, instruments, solar arrays, and antenna to determine everything is oriented correctly, working properly, and on course. Once InSight has landed on Mars, it will drill into the surface and collect data on marsquakes, heat flow from the interior, and the way the planet wobbles. The data will help better understand Mars geology and the processes that shaped the rocky planets of our solar system.

Two videos discuss the InSight mission and the experimental CubeSat technology headed to Mars.



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