Nasa’s InSight mission will target ‘Marsquakes’

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The American space agency Nasa is set to launch its latest mission to Mars.

InSight will be the first probe to focus its investigations predominantly on the interior of the Red Planet.

The lander – due to touch down in November – will put seismometers on the surface to feel for “Marsquakes”.

These tremors should reveal how the underground rock is layered – data that can be compared with Earth to shed further light on the formation of the planets 4.6 billion years ago.

“As seismic waves travel through [Mars] they pick up information along the way; as they travel through different rocks,” explained Dr Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator. “And all those wiggles you see on seismograms – scientists understand how to pull that information out. After we’ve gotten many, many Marsquakes from different directions, we can put together a three dimensional view of the inside of Mars.”

Lift-off on an Atlas rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is scheduled for 04:05 local time (12:05 BST) on Saturday, although forecast fog may force a delay.

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