We have successfully invaded Mars again, this time to poke holes in it.
The InSight lander, operated by NASA and built by scientists in the U.S., France and Germany, touched down in the vast, red expanse of Mars’ Elysium Planitia just before 3 p.m. Eastern Monday.
There it will operate for the next two Earth years, deploying a seismometer, a heat sensor and radio antenna to probe the Red Planet’s interior. Scientists hope that InSight will uncover signs of tectonic activity and clues about the planet’s past. Those findings could illuminate how Mars became the desolate desert world we see today.
Oh. Practical knowledge, since we’ve got an ongoing experiment to see if we can turn Earth into a similarly desolate desert.
If you don’t want to learn about how to end all life as we know it, you could tune in here on Wednesday afternoon, when I’m getting together with some other space people, the Deep Astronomy channel, to talk about the origin of life. It’ll be fun! Space people are cool!