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What's Next for NASA's New Mars Lander?


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An artist's illustration of the InSight Mars lander using its robotic arm to cover a seismometer instrument with a wind and thermal shield.

It will be a while before the new Mars InSight lander is ready to start its science work.

Credit: Lockheed Martin

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)'s new Mars lander will begin investigating the planet's interior several months after Monday’s touchdown.

The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport (InSight) lander will need that much time to deploy and calibrate a burrowing heat probe and a suite of highly sensitive seismometers. This equipment must be precisely placed on the surface by InSight's robotic arm, which will be a first for a Mars lander.

In the coming weeks, NASA scientists will study the landing site, deciding on the best deployment area before practicing deployment on a testbed lander at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The robotic arm will execute three placements, as it will cover the seismometer suite with a shield to protect the instrument from wind and temperature fluctuations.

From Space.com
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