InSight will hunt for hidden treasures on Mars. NASA will launch it on May 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Mars rover Curiosity is already there and has been gathering a great deal of information over the last five years but that has been limited to the surface. InSight plans to delve deep into the red planet and reach down a bit deeper to discover the treasures that lie hidden beneath the surface. What surprises lie waiting for us to discover?

CNN reports that launch of InSight will be the first interplanetary mission for NASA from the West Coast. Previous missions were launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The journey period of the probe will be six months and it should land on November 26 joining with the various existing missions already on the distant planet's surface.

This mission is important

NASA has, over a period of time, mapped the surface of the entire planet in relation to several parameters such topography, gravity, and magnetic fields. Information has also been captured about the atmosphere and efforts have been made to correlate these with the history of Mars. InSight will go further by exploring the depths of the red planet.

It will not have any mobility but will start its activities from a stationary position and will use its nearly 8-foot-long robotic arm. This arm will lower a seismometer to ground level to measure tremors. Simultaneously, a second arm will dig 16 feet below the surface – this is a depth that no other instrument has gone thus far.

This arm will have provisions to install cameras and will be able to begin recording images immediately since InSight is an application of robotics and will not have to fight off jet lag.

Other uses of InSight

NASA is upbeat about InSight. It is equipped with a radio system that is expected to throw more light on the shape of the planet. There will also be a weather station to measure pressure, wind, and temperature of Mars on a 24X7 basis for at least a Martian year.

There are several agencies who plan to colonize the red planet and the information that is currently available about life and life-giving elements on the alien planet is very limited. Hence, there is a need to gather more data on the presence of such elements on Mars and develop suitable strategies. NASA will try to bridge that gap.

However, those who want to exploit the natural resources of the red planet will think on different lines. They will probably go in for setting up outposts, operated by robots, to extract the minerals and send them back to Earth. Only – they should know where to land their robots to get the best returns.