(click on the pictures below)
Atlas V with InSight on the Launchpad:
On November 26th, 2018, NASA’s InSight lander will touch down on the Elysium Planitia of Mars. Short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, InSight will deploy a seismometer instrument to measure marsquakes, data used for exploring the planet’s interior structure. This will allow scientists to better understand the geological evolution of Mars and answer key questions about the formation of all four rocky planets in our inner solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
In this photosphere, see the Mobile Service Structure Rollback from the ULA Atlas V 401 rocket at Space Launch Complex 3 about 5 hours before launch on May 5th, 2018.
InSight in Vandenberg Cleanroom:
In these photospheres from the Astrotech cleanroom at Vandenberg Air Force Base, the lander is visible inside of the aeroshell capsule that will protect it on the 6-month journey to Mars and during entry, decent, and landing (EDL) on the planet. The capsule’s heat shield is positioned nearby ready for installation.
Learn more about InSight here in my blog for The Franklin Institute.