Expecting Great Insights from InSight
Yesterday’s landing of the InSight mission on Mars was another step toward the eventual extended human exploration of the Red Planet. Sure, this lander is supposed to be sussing out the interior of the Red Planet, and that will provide major insights into how Mars is structured. But, InSight is part of the larger exploration theme of the planet that some people will someday call home.
As it unfolded its solar panels late in the afternoon and got a first good charge for the power supply, InSight sent back some great images of Mars. By now, the scene is familiar: rocky red plains with a faint pink sky. No life that we can see. Absolutely no standing water. Few clouds. Just the endless horizons of a planet that we’ve been exploring since the 1960s.
So, what’s InSight going to do? The spacecraft is now being fully vetted for its extended mission. That will take a couple of months, which lets the science team will figure out where and when to deploy its instruments. Those include a little “mole” that will dig deep into the surface to monitor seismic actions. In the meantime, it ...