Mars Insight Mission Overview

Conversation Date: 
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET)
Mars Insight

"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.

But InSight is more than a Mars mission - it is a terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of the most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science - understanding the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.

By using sophisticated geophysical instruments, InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet's "vital signs": Its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow probe), and "reflexes" (precision tracking).

InSight seeks to answer one of science's most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?"

See also, our Landing Insight and Marsquakes telecons.

Please note, that the title slide is Slide #0, instead of #1. 


Dr. Bruce Banerdt

Dr. Bruce Banerdt is the Principal Investigator of the Mars Insight mission.  He has spent the last 20 years working to put a seismometer on Mars; seismology is the "gold standard" for investigations on Earth, he says. In addition to heading InSight's science team, Banerdt is the lead for the mission's SEIS instrument, which will bring the power of Earth-based seismology to the Red Planet. For him, InSight represents a unique opportunity to get a window into the "hidden" processes that shaped not only Mars, but also all the terrestrial planets.


Questions after the telecon:

  1. What about the MarCO Cube Sat mission?  It's still going forward.
  2. What parts of the spacecraft were spares from Phoenix?  Just the lander radar and the UHF radio; Insight is based on Phoenix technology, but the science mission is totally different.
  3. Does it include a descent imager/microphone?  No, you can read about the difficulties the Phoenix lander had with those devices here, so they were omitted for Insight.

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Recording Files:
Audio edited MP3 (27.06 MB)
Transcript File:
Transcript PDF (201 KB)
Presentation File:
Presentation PDF (10.32 MB)
Presentation PPTX (108.15 MB)
Slide 17 MP4 (918 KB)
Slide 27 EDL MP4 (24.94 MB)
Slide 30 Deployment MP4 (65.15 MB)
(4.16 MB)
(2.2 MB)
Additional Resources:

  • (43 KB)