UnivEarthS Interview: Sébastien de Raucourt talks about the SEIS instrument in the Insight mission

The Insight mission took off on May 5, 2018 from Vandenberg mud in California, and is now on a long 6-month journey to Mars, where it will land on November 26, 2018. Its scientific objective is to understand how Mars was formed and how it evolved into today’s frozen desert.

Among all the people who worked on this mission, we interviewed Sébastien de Raucourt, member of the UnivEarthS I3 team: Fundamental physics and geophysics in space.

Sébastien de Raucourt is a research engineer at the Institut physique du globe de Paris, and he and his team are working on the SEIS instrument, which is on board the Insight mission that took off for March on May 5, 2018. The excellence of his work was recognized through a CNRS crystal medal that was awarded to him this year. In the interview, he tells us about the work he did on the SEIS instrument within the IPGP, with the company SODERN and with NASA. He tells us about the detailed operation of SEIS to study the soil of Mars, the studies carried out to improve the instruments, and finally what the Labex UnivEarthS has brought to the Insight mission.




The SEIS experiment is under the scientific responsibility of the IPGP and the project management of the National Centre for Space Studies. The miniaturized technology concentrate that is the SEIS seismometer has been developed in France by the technical and scientific teams of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (CNRS/Université Paris Diderot), the Space Campus of the Université Paris Diderot, the industrialists SODERN and EREMS, the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE) and the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie de Toulouse (IRAP) and the CNES.

Indeed, fragile and heavy, ground-based seismometers are unusable for space missions. For the latter, CNES, the IPGP space and planetary geophysics team and SODERN have therefore fully developed a new sensor capable of resisting the vibrations, shocks, radiation, temperature differences and other constraints that characterize a planetary mission.



To go further:


I3 : Fundamental physics and Geophysics in space


Interview with Lucile Fayon: around the Insight mission…

Martian mission InSight: the SEIS seismometer is in good health

France’s SEIS seismometer on InSight mission set to listen to the beating heart of Mars