Current Affairs NASA's mission InSight lands on Mars

NASA’s mission InSight lands on Mars


Mars mission InSight which was launched on May 5, 2018, has landed on Mars on Monday, Nov 26, 2018. NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) journey from Earth.

The lander touched down Mars’ equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia.

InSight’s two-year mission will be to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

“Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.”

More challenges

“We hit the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph (19,800 kilometers per hour), and the whole sequence to touching down on the surface took only six-and-a-half minutes,” said InSight project manager Tom Hoffman at JPL. “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.”

Confirmation of a successful touchdown is not the end of the challenges of landing on the Red Planet. InSight’s surface-operations phase began a minute after touchdown. One of its first tasks is to deploy its two decagonal solar arrays, which will provide power. That process begins 16 minutes after landing and takes another 16 minutes to complete.

“We are solar powered, so getting the arrays out and operating is a big deal,” said Hoffman. “With the arrays providing the energy we need to start the cool science operations, we are well on our way to thoroughly investigate what’s inside of Mars for the very first time.”

InSight will begin to collect science data within the first week after landing, though the teams will focus mainly on preparing to set InSight’s instruments on the Martian ground. At least two days after touchdown, the engineering team will begin to deploy InSight’s 5.9-foot-long (1.8-meter-long) robotic arm so that it can take images of the landscape.

“Landing was thrilling, but I’m looking forward to the drilling,” said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of JPL. “When the first images come down, our engineering and science teams will hit the ground running, beginning to plan where to deploy our science instruments. Within two or three months, the arm will deploy the mission’s main science instruments, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) and Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instruments.”

InSight will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until Nov. 24, 2020.

Below are few facts:

  • InSight is also known as Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.
  • It will take six-and-a-half-month to reach Mars. InSight will travel 300m miles and land on Mars on a broad plain Elysium Palitia on Nov 26, 2018.
  • The mission aims to monitor marsquakes, map the planet’s interior and probe the temperature of the core.
  • It will start geological excavations. It will dig deeper into Mars than ever before – about 5 metres – to record the planet’s temperature.
  • InSight is the eighth lander to Mars sent by NASA so far.
  • However, InSight is the first spacecraft to Mars to learn about the planet’s interiors.  It seeks to answer science’s one of the most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?
  • NASA had invited people all around the world to register for this Mars mission. The InSight Probe contains a microchip that stores all the names of participants who have registered their name on NASA’s website.
  • The participants have a boarding pass which will contain their name, boarding number and other details like the launch site, launch date, etc. Though one din’t fly for real, their names have become part of InSight.
  • NASA has given boarding pass to 2,429,807 names out of which 1,38,899 are from India (1).
  • If you have missed to register with InSight, click here to register in the future missions.

What is?

Seismic: Relating to earthquakes or other vibrations of the earth and its crust.

Geodesy: The branch of mathematics dealing with the shape and area of the earth or large portions of it.

Terrestrial: On or relating to the earth.

Things to do

Quiz: How well do you know our solar system?

1.Which is the planet named after Roman god of war?

  • Uranus , Mars, Neptune

2.Which are the four terrestrial planets?

3.How much would a 150-pound person weigh on Mars?

  • 174 pounds, 57 pounds, 102 pounds

4. About how long is a day on Saturn?

  • 24 hours, 10 hours 47 minutes, 4 hours 57 minutes

5.Name the two moons of Mars and what does it mean?

6.Which planet has the highest mountain and deepest valley in the solar system?

  • Mars, Venus, Earth

7. What’s the highest measured wind speeds at Neptune?

  • 350mph, 450mph, 1500mph

8. Which planet has largest dust storms?

  • Mars, Earth, Jupiter

9. Which planets are called ‘Gas Giants’

10. Name any two dwarf planets


  1. Mars
  2. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars
  3. 57 pounds
  4. 10 hours 47 minutes
  5. Phobos & Deimos, which translate to Fear and Dread, respectively.
  6. Olympus Mons on Mars is over 72,000 feet in height, making it the tallest mountain by far on any planet in the solar system.
  7. 1500 mph
  8. Mars
  9. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
  10. Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake & Eris



News4children, a news portal on current affairs tapered especially for children with academic input. Every article is written in simple language with full background information, so children can understand the news better. Most of the articles include academic input, activities and vocabulary as well.


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