InSight mission

In­Sight in fig­ures

Mission in details

Launch5 May 2018 at 13:05 CEST (04:05 PDT)
Launch siteVandenberg Air Force Base, California, USA
Launch vehicleAtlas V-401 (AV-078)
Size57.3 metres
Launch weight333 tonnes (launch vehicle and InSight payload)
Upper stageCentaur with re-ignitable RL10-C engine
PropellantsThermally-stable kerosene (type RP-1) and liquid oxygen (launch vehicle); liquid hydrogen and oxygen (upper stage)
Mission durationA little over one Mars year (about two Earth years); 708 sols (Mars days) or 728 Earth days
Groundstations 34-metre and 70-metre antennas belonging to the NASA Deep Space Network (California, Australia, Spain)

Timeline

August 2012The US space agency NASA approves InSight as the twelfth mission in its Discovery programme
5 May 2018
13:05 CEST (04:05 PDT)
Launch of InSight to Mars. Distance from Earth to Mars on 5 May 2018: 121 million kilometres. Distance to be covered from Earth to Mars (elliptical Hohmann transfer orbit): 485 million kilometres.
26 November 2018
20:52 CET
Landing of InSight on Mars. Planned landing site: Elysium Planitia at 4.5° North, 135.9° East
Late 2020End of mission (nominal)

InSight lander and mission

Mission control centre

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena (Mission)
DLR Microgravity User Support Centre (MUSC, Cologne) for HP3 experiments; CNES, SISMOC, Toulouse, SEIS

InSight dimensionsHeight: between 83 and 108 centimetres (compression of the legs can only be determined after landing)
Width with unfolded solar panels: 6 metres
InSight mass
(with transfer stage)
360 kilograms (727 kilograms)
InSight mass
(with transfer stage)
50 kilograms
Mass of solar panelsTwo panels, each 2.15 metres in diameter, with a total area of approximately seven square metres
Energy supply / generation from solar panelsOn a clear day, both solar panels will generate a total of 600–700 watts. On a day when there is dust in the atmosphere, it is assumed that they will generate 200–300 watts, even if the solar panels are covered in dust.
CommunicationsVia the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and 2001 Mars Odyssey

Experiments

Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3, pronounced ‘H-P cubed’)First determination of the amount of heat emanating from the planet’s interior by measuring the temperature from the surface down to a depth of five metres and measuring the thermal conductivity. The DLR Institute of Planetary Research led the development of the experiment. An infrared radiometer for determining the temperature of the surface of Mars forms part of the experiment.
Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS)Seismometer for measuring ground movements on Mars at different frequencies using six sensors, three short period sensors (SPS) and three very broadband sensors (VBB). The instrument was developed by a consortium led by the French space agency (CNES). Germany provided the levelling system (LVL), which was developed and built at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen.
Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE)RISE records the shift in the frequencies of radio communications (Doppler effect) in order to measure tiny fluctuations in the inclination of Mars’ axis of rotation, indicating uneven distributions of mass within the planet and the state of its core.

 

Dossiers on this topic

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