PHOTOS: NASA’s InSight Spacecraft, a Robotic Geologist on Mars

The Mars-bound robotic geologist called InSight launched Saturday May 5, 2018 from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Take a look at InSight and its path to the red planet.

27 photos
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NASA
A look at InSight's journey to Mars.
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NASA/JPL-CALTECH
An illustration of the route InSight takes to get to Mars.
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NASA/JPL-CALTECH
This artist's rendering shows InSight traveling to Mars.
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The Atlas 5 rocket carrying the Mars InSight probe launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, as seen from the San Gabriel Mountains more than 100 miles away, on May 5, 2018, near Los Angeles, California. The InSight probe is the first NASA lander designed entirely to study the deep interior structure of Mars.
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(NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The NASA InSight spacecraft launches onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, Saturday, May 5, 2018, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, carrying NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, Mars lander. Liftoff was at 4:05 a.m. PDT (7:05 a.m. EDT). The spacecraft will be the first mission to look deep beneath the Martian surface. It will study the planet's interior by measuring its heat output and listen for marsquakes. InSight will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior. The resulting insight into Mars’ formation will provide a better understanding of how other rocky planets, including Earth, were created.
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(NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The mobile service tower at SLC-3 is rolled back to reveal the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas-V rocket with the NASA InSight spacecraft onboard, Friday, May 4, 2018, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander designed to study the "inner space" of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
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NASA/JPL-CALTECH
The InSight lander is assembled in a clean room at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver.
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NASA/JPL-CALTECH/LOCKHEED MARTIN
The InSight Mars lander's cruise stage is assembled in a clean room at Lockheed Martin in Denver. The lander can be seen in the background.
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The parachute for NASA's InSight Mars mission was done at the world's largest wind tunnel, located at California's Moffett Field.
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NASA/JPL
Technicians at Lockheed Martin pack thermal protection material onto InSight's heat shield to protect it as it enters Mars' atmosphere.
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NASA/JPL
A few weeks after reaching Mars, the InSight lander will deploy its robot arm to lift two key science instruments off its deck. Here, that process is run through tests at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
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NASA/JPL
The back protective shell of the lander is lowered into position.
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IMAGE CREDIT: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/LOCKHEED MARTIN
Lockheed Martin specialists check the cruise stage of the InSight spacecraft. The stage will provide vital functions during the journey before it's jettisoned in space.
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NASA/JPL
You're looking at the InSight lander suspended upside-down so its science instruments can be installed.
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NASA/JPL
The InSight lander's solar array system is unfolded and test in the Lockheed Martin clean room in Littleton, Colorado. It's solar cells will collect power to fuel the lander.
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NASA/JPL
This dime-sized microchip carries 1.6 million names submitted by the public to ride aboard InSight. Here, a technician is preparing the chip for installation.
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NASA/JPL/Lockheed Martin Space
A crate containing the InSight spacecraft is loaded into a C-17 cargo aircraft at Buckley Air Force Base, Denver, for shipment to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster is transported to Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The rocket will launch NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, mission to land on Mars.
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NASA/JPL
A replica of NASA's InSight lander is pictured at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
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NASA
The golden object in this photo is called Mars Cube One, one of two twin communications relay "CubeSats." The small satellites will be launched on the same rocket as InSight, then deploy and accompany the spacecraft to provide a communications link,
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At Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a United Launch Alliance Centaur rocket upper stage is seen aboard a flatbed truck. It will sit atop an Atlas V booster, carrying the InSight spacecraft from the coastal air base. .
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NASA/JPL
NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport -- or InSight -- is pictured at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara, California.
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NASA/JPL
This artist's rendering depicts InSight on the Martian surface with one of the its instruments deployed by the lander's robotic arm and a probe beneath the surface.
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NASA/JPL
This map depicts InSight's landing site on Mars and where it will be in relation to other landers on the red planet.
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NASA/JPL
The InSight project team is picture here.
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NASA
A view of Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara, California. The launch pad is ready for the arrival of InSight.
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