InSight, the first Martian geophysical observatory, has left Earth.
On Saturday, May 5th at 4:05 pm (Pacific time), the Atlas V rocket took off from the Vandenberg base in California, sending the InSight probe to Mars.
This launch, the first on the US West Coast for a global mission, was attended by science teams, as well as many media and enthusiasts from around the world (despite the morning haze preventing any direct visibility of the takeoff). The members of UnivEarthS who worked on the SEIS instrument were also present and excited despite the weather.
InSight, sheltered in the cruise stage, is now separated from its launcher and on its trajectory towards the red planet, which should be reached at the end of November 2018.
The seismometer SEIS should therefore send its first Martian seismic data before the end of the year.
InSight Press Conference – May 3, 2018
Philippe Lognonné, geophysicist in the IPGP’s planetology and space science team and scientific leader of the SEIS instrument, notably presented this seismometer whose core is composed of ultra-sensitive sensors and able to withstand the extreme conditions of a mission to Mars.