Mars lander to check out quakes, wobbles, and more

Due to set down in late November, NASA’s InSight lander will learn more about how rocky worlds like Mars—and Earth—formed and evolved.

On November 26, 2018, NASA’s InSight spacecraft is set to touch down on Mars after completing a 205-day orbit in space. Its mission is to study the interior of the red planet in three distinct ways. Learn about the mission in the latest video from our Decoder series.

Mars lander to check out quakes, wobbles, and more

Due to set down in late November, NASA’s InSight lander will learn more about how rocky worlds like Mars—and Earth—formed and evolved.

On November 26, 2018, NASA’s InSight spacecraft is set to touch down on Mars after completing a 205-day orbit in space. Its mission is to study the interior of the red planet in three distinct ways. Learn about the mission in the latest video from our Decoder series.

This story appears in the November 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

NASA’s Insight lander is expected to set down along the sunny equator of Mars in late November. Its mission: Study Mars’s ancient interior, a task that might shed some light on our own planet. That’s because the same plate tectonics that give Earth its mountain ranges—and the conditions for life itself—have over eons transformed our ancient geology. Mars, on the other hand, has had a comparatively uneventful past three billion years, likely because it’s too small to produce the energy for history-erasing tectonic shifts. So it might still hold clues to how rocky worlds, like ours, first formed and evolved.