WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A Mars lander named InSight, armed with a 16-foot-drill and a quake-detecting seismograph, is approaching the Red Planet to begin a two-year mission to map the planet’s interior in a bid to understand how planets in the solar system formed more than 4 billion years ago, NASA scientists said in a press conference.
"InSight is going to explore the deep interior of Mars from the crust all the way down to the center of the planet to its core, so really the first mission to go and look deeply insides of a rocky planet other than the Earth," InSite Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt said on Wednesday.
Unlike past Mars rovers, InSight will stay in one position from which the spacecraft will deploy a seismograph on the surface to measure so-called "Marsquakes" and a drill designed to penetrate the surface to a depth of 10-to-16 feet, NASA scientists explained.
By studying the size, thickness, density and overall structure of the Red Planet's core, mantle and crust, as well as the rate at which heat escapes from the planet's interior, the InSight mission will provide glimpses into the evolutionary processes of all of the rocky planets in the inner solar system, including Earth, according to a NASA overview of the mission.
InSight is scheduled to land on November 26 and begin sending data for the next two years, NASA said.