Five Facts About the Mars InSight Mission

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


InSight touched down on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018 after an almost seven-month journey from Earth.

Jim Bridenstine, a NASA Administrator, announced that we have landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history, and that InSight will “study the interior of Mars and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars.”

Read on for five interesting facts shared by NASA that can be integrated with Design SySTEM’s Astronautical Engineering unit:

  1. Landing on Mars is difficult.

    Only about 40 percent of the missions ever sent to Mars have been successful because the thin Martian atmosphere makes slowing down a spacecraft difficult.

  2. InSight uses tried-and-true technology.

    InSight’s landing design has been tested in the past by the Phoenix spacecraft, which also successfully landed on Mars in 2008.

  3. InSight is landing on “the biggest parking lot on Mars”.

    InSight can collect data from anywhere on the planet, so all it needs for landing is a flat, stable surface.

  4. InSight can land in a dust storm.

    InSight’s engineers have designed the spacecraft to be able to touch down safely in a dust storm, if necessary. The design included a thick heat shield and strong parachute to withstand being “sandblasted”.

  5. InSight will teach us about the interior of planets like our own.

    By comparing Earth’s interior to that of Mars, NASA hopes to better understand how other rocky worlds, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

Be sure to follow InSight on social media with your students to get updates on the mission!