First NASA lander to study Mars' interior launches from California

Solar arrays designed and manufactured by Orbital ATK-Goleta

Solar arrays designed and manufactured by Orbital ATK-Goleta

Nine-and-a-half-year-old Pratik G.K, who is attached to the Chennai-based Space Kidz India, was one of the around 1,38,899 people from India who "departed" for Mars at 4.36pm on Saturday on a Nasa mission called InSight (Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport).

The lander will be carried aloft for NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) atop a two-stage, 19-story Atlas 5 rocket from the fleet of United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. According to Nasa, the inclusion of names was in response to a global call to submit names for the Mars mission. Not exactly two dozen additional Mars missions are established by additional nations. It will also attempt to make the first measurements of marsquakes, using a high-tech seismometer placed directly on the Martian surface.

These Mars tremors would help to reveal the underground rock layer of the planet.

The Viking probes of the mid-1970s were equipped with seismometers, too, but they were bolted to the top of the landers, a design that proved largely ineffective.

Apollo missions to the moon brought seismometers into the lunar area as well, detecting thousands of moonquakes and meteorite impacts. The data received could be compared to Earth.

InSight will dig deeper into Mars than ever before - almost five metres - to take the planet's temperature.

Meanwhile, a special transmitter onto your lander can send wireless signals back into Earth, tracking Mars' refined rotational wobble to show exactly the size of their earth's core and possibly whether it remains molten.

Also aboard the Atlas V rocket were a pair of mini satellites, or CubeSats, meant to trail Mars InSight all the way to Mars in a first-of-its-kind technology demonstration.The €1bn mission involves scientists from the U.S. and Europe.

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