Last Saturday, NASA’s InSight spacecraft blasted off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base for its six month journey to Mars.
The occasion marked the first time a rocket has been launched from the West Coast and NASA’s first Mars lander since Curiosity in 2012. The scientific aim of the mission is twofold: to dig deeper into the core of the Red Planet than ever before—5 meters to be exact—and to study its seismic activity to understand the formation and evolution of rocky planets.
With the launch of the rocket, NASA is also completing a sort of side quest into space engineering. The first experiment of its kind, two briefcase-sized CubeSats, aptly named WALL-E and EVE, will trail behind the InSight relaying valuable information to researchers back on Earth.
After many technical difficulties and delays plaguing its launch, the InSight took off into the foggy California sky with a crowd of eager spectators cheering it on. It is slated to arrive at its destination on November 26th when, as NASA jokes on its website, it will finally give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since the planet formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Image: NASA / Public Domain – InSight on its way to Mars
This story is taken from the 11 May 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.