For the first time ever, the interior of Mars will be under study as NASA in its latest mission, launched on Saturday, will uncover the information after undertaking a seven-month long journey through space. Elysium Planitia, a lava plain on the Martian equator being flat and mostly devoid of rocks is intended to be the landing site for the InSight mission. The lander, big as a garden table, has a robotic probe that will examine the center of the planet, the first one to ever do so.
The lander, equipped with an array of instruments like a heat flow probe to measure the rate of heating of the soil by the core up to 5 meters and a seismometer which will record tremors or mars quakes, will help the scientists better understand the geology of the planet. The region, which has nothing special about it and would usually be overlooked by scientists was chosen as the landing site precisely for this reason as the seismometer is super-sensitive and can measure infinitesimally small vibrations. It will collect a lot of other data over the 2-year mission by vibrations caused by agents, both below the surface and above.
There is a lot of other equipment on the lander which will facilitate a radio science experiment, which will help determine the nature of the core that the planet has, solid or liquid by monitoring how much it wobbles on its axis. The mission costing over $800 million will bring back information that scientists can use as a reference point for examining other planets in and beyond the solar system including our won.
But all this will only happen if the mission gets to Mars in the first place. Trips to the planet have always been challenging and only less than half attempted by any space agencies have been successful which a concern is. Launch and landing are the key aspects of this project and once the latter is done with the equipment intact, scientist will breathe a sigh of relief.