With the recent landing and first zapping of the Curiosity land rover on Mars, NASA decided it was time to announce their next exciting mission that will be the first to look deep inside the red planet.
In 2016, the space agency will send a robotic lander called InSight (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) to Mars. Its main mission will be to take a look into the deep interior of Mars and figure out why it developed differently than Earth as one of our solar system’s rocky planets.
InSight (above is the artist’s rendition of what the robot will look like) will use instruments to investigate whether the core is solid or liquid like Earth’s. In addition, InSight will also examine why the crust is not divided into tectonic plates that drift.
“The exploration of Mars is a top priority for NASA, and the selection of InSight ensures we will continue to unlock the mysteries of the red planet and lay the groundwork for a future human mission there,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “The recent successful landing of the Curiosity rover has galvanized public interest in space exploration and today’s announcement makes clear there are more exciting Mars missions to come.”
InSight is the 12th selection in NASA’s series of Discovery-class missions and is scheduled to land in September 2016. Jump here to learn more about InSight and its two-year investigative mission.