A new understanding of Mars is beginning to emerge after the completion of the first year of NASA's InSight lander mission.

About InSight Mission:

  • InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior for two years. 

NASA’s Discovery Program:

  • Discovery is an ongoing program that offers the scientific community the opportunity to assemble a team and design exciting, focused investigations that complement NASA's larger planetary science explorations
  • The main objective is to enhance our understanding of the Solar System by exploring the planets, their moons, and small bodies such as comets and asteroids
  • InSight has two radios which can reveal whether the planet’s core is solid or liquid. A solid core would cause Mars to wobble less than a liquid one would. 
  • It is being supported by a number of European partners, which include France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).

Recent Findings of the InSight Mission

Underground: rumbles

The surface: magnetism

In the wind: dust devils

Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates like Earth, but it does have volcanically active regions that can cause rumbles. 

InSight is equipped with a magnetometer, which has detected magnetic signals.

At a Martian site called Homestead hollow, the magnetic signals are 10 times stronger than what was predicted earlier. 

Weather sensors have detected thousands of passing whirlwinds, which are called dust devils when they pick up grit and become visible.