NASA launched its InSight mission in early May. This is the space agency’s latest attempt to leave a mark on the red planet and take another step towards colonization of Mars. The Curiosity rover is already there and has been doing useful work gathering information that will help humankind understand the planet better. This latest mission will strengthen ongoing research, revolving around the presence of life on Mars, and probe for the possibility of setting up outposts manned by humans.

CNET reports that the landing site selected for InSight is Elysium Planitia.

This is a logical choice because it will ensure adequate availability of sunlight necessary for charging the solar panels of the lander. Moreover, the mission involves exploring areas that are below the surface. In fact, it will have to dig to a depth of nearly 16 feet to measure the heat coming from the interior of Mars.

InSight will explore the depths of Mars

There has been more than one mission spread across several years to study the red planet Mars and they were confined to the surface. The rovers have sent back images that revealed the rough terrain.

NASA's Curiosity rover was there for more than five years, and it also moved around on the surface. InSight’s journey to Mars will open up a new chapter because it will now go a step further and probe the depths.

Elysium Planitia, located near the equator, is the landing site for this mission. It is a lava plain and presents a more or less smooth surface devoid of rocks.

NASA expects a site of this nature to help for a smooth landing for the lander. This rover will not move about like Opportunity and Curiosity but will remain stationary and dig up useful data about Mars. Such data will form the basis for scientists to get a foothold on the planet.

This mission will bridge some gaps

NASA has handled several missions to Mars since 2004 when it started with Spirit and Opportunity rovers.

Then came the Phoenix lander in May 2008 followed by Curiosity rover in August 2012. Eyes are now on InSight that will land on Nov. 26.

Space adds that this is an $850 million mission and Rob Manning, an official at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, explains that there are thousands of steps involved for any such activity. Each one of them must work perfectly to ensure success. It will take 6 minutes for the rover to touchdown from the moment it enters the atmosphere of Mars and it will begin its activities immediately. It will be in operation for about two Earth years.