NASA is sending a new solar-powered lander to Mars to check out what's been happening for the past 4.5 billion years

In January 2018, workers extended the solar arrays that will power the InSight spacecraft once it lands on Mars this November.


NASA is sending a mission to Mars this year. But don’t get your space suit zipped up just yet: The trip is for a solar-powered lander, not people.

The NASA inspection kit is named InSight, and it’s a hefty, 794-pound Martian lander. InSight (aka Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is set to blast off for Mars from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base before dawn, at around 4 a.m. Pacific on May 5, 2018.

Scientists at NASA say the lander will give the Red Planet a 4.5 billion year-overdue “checkup.” InSight has three main objectives on Mars: taking the planet’s temperature, measuring its size, and checking out how much it’s shaking things up by monitoring for “Marsquakes.”

Take a look at what the roughly $828 million mission will do:

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