APR 09, 2018 05:30 PM PDT

NASA's Getting Excited About Launching its InSight Mission

The upcoming launch date for one of NASA’s next major interplanetary missions is quickly approaching. The space agency’s InSight mission will blast off from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 5th, sending it along on a one-way trip to Mars.

NASA's InSight spacecraft undergoes final preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In a statement, NASA says that the InSight mission will hitch a ride atop an Atlas V rocket built by United Launch Alliance. The space vehicle’s engines will generate more than 860,200 pounds of thrust as they ignite and lift the spacecraft well above Earth’s atmosphere.

Depending on where you live, you might even have a chance to watch the rocket take off.

“After lift-off from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 3, the Atlas V begins a southerly trajectory and climbs out over the Channel Islands of Oxnard,” said Tim Dunn, the launch director for the Launch Services Program at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“If you live on the California Central Coast or south to L.A. and San Diego, be sure to get up early on May 5th, because Atlas V is the gold standard in launch vehicles and it can put on a great show.”

Related: Potential hotspot for past life found on Mars

Anyone that isn’t close enough to view the launch in person can always tune in to NASA’s live stream instead.

InSight’s launch is somewhat significant; it’s slated to become the first interplanetary mission ever launched from the United States’ West coast. That said, NASA’s rather excited about the whole thing, and understandably so.

If the May 5th launch gets delayed for any reason, then NASA has already planned various alternative launch dates up until June 8th to serve as backups.

After the InSight mission arrives at Mars, it will deploy various scientific instruments to study the red planet’s tectonic activity, internal temperature, and orbital wobble, among other things. These planetary characteristics could tell us a lot about Mars, including how the planet formed.

Related: Does Mars experience Marsquakes?

It should be interesting to see how the launch goes and whether the InSight mission provides any useful clues about Mars.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
NASA Plans to Use a Space-Rated Drone to Study Titan
NASA is planning to develop a $1 Billion mission dubbed ‘Dragonfly’ to study Saturn’s moon Titan, a world that scientists have long thoug...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
Will India Be the First Nation to Land a Spacecraft on the Moon's South Pole?
India’s space agency, dubbed the Indian Space Research Organization (or ISRO for short), is aiming to land a spacecraft at the Moon’s South Pol...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
Here's What We Know About the Big Bang and the Universe's Expansion
One of the most widely accepted notions regarding the formation of the universe is the Big Bang theory. In a nutshell, it’s a concept in which all of...
NOV 21, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 21, 2019
Why Does a Solar Cycle Last for 11 Years? Scientists Might Have Found the Answer
About every 11 years our Sun undergoes a solar cycle, also known as the solar magnetic activity cycle. Since its first discovery in the mid-19th-century, a...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
New Technologies Are Headed for the International Space Station
Space is hard, and for that reason, researchers are always trying to come up with new ways to make it easier. One of the best places for new technologies t...
NOV 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 21, 2019
Say Hello to the Largest Star Ever Discovered
There are so many stars in the modern universe that we couldn’t ever hope to count them all. Many are so distant from us that we can’t even see...
Loading Comments...