Have you ever wondered if the Red Planet shakes, rattles and rolls? No? Too bad! NASA filled their bottle rocket and flung a sophisticated ornament at Mars, just in time for the holiday season. InSight blazed a path of hell across space-time, and on November 26, 2018, landed near Elysium Planitia—a flat and lackluster region on Mars…which greatly encapsulates how exciting this mission is going to be.
Elysium Planitia is pretty much a Martian parking lot. The predictable territory makes it difficult for something to go very wrong, and that’s why the region was chosen to be poked and prodded by nosy scientific instruments. Not because it’s interesting or unique…because it’s easy and accessible.
InSight is gonna help us answer the BIG question, right? Well…nope. InSight will place its ears close to the ground and listen to seismic activity. The technological marvel doesn’t have any legs or arms, however, that didn’t stop it from tweeting a pretty photograph and heartfelt message.
Impressive! Take a look at the gorgeous detail. Oh. Wait. You can’t.
Come on, InSight. Get your act together. You should have removed your damn lens cover. Think about it.
Don’t get it twisted—InSight is not a roaming rover. The stationary lander is equipped with a few solar panels and a variety of complicated tools. InSight is also well-endowed: the heat flow probe will penetrate 5 meters (16 feet) below the surface and measure temperature.
The BIG Question
The Rusted Wasteland has captivated Earthlings since the beginning of time, but let’s face it—red is dead. Sure, sure…there might be a few microbes locked up inside an ancient rock, and a few droplets of water may cling to the wall of a dark crater. Answering the BIG question may help everyone feel a little less lonely. If life sprouted on Earth and Mars, then perhaps life ain’t all that special. Are we truly ready for that kind of information? Hell no.
Don’t worry…NASA currently lacks the insight required to figure out if life, indeed, is special or not. InSight certainly won’t help, and that’s probably a good thing.
While InSight is twiddling its RISE antenna—Curiosity and Opportunity are lookin’ for signs of life. InSight also seems a little exposed. A dust storm could smother the delicate buffet of scientific instruments, while it’s attempting to measure shakes and wobbles…because there’s a gooey secret lurking in the core of Mars, and it sure as shit isn’t caramel or nougat. Unfortunately.
Mars is not the only planet in the solar system, however, a quick glance at the list of recent missions may prove otherwise. Let’s take a look.
Mission to Mars: Orbiters & Landers
- Mars 2
- Mars 3
- Mars 6
- Viking 1 lander
- Viking 2 lander
- Mars Pathfinder
- Mars climate orbiter
- Mars polar lander / deep space 2
- Beagle 2
- Spirit rover
- Opportunity rover
- Mars science laboratory
- Schiaparelli EDM lander
- InSight lander
If you were to add up all the moolah required to fund each Martian mission, the grand total would be…a lot. Some of that cold hard cash could have been used to explore other planets or moons. Imagine if a rover was exploring Ganymede or Titan. Mars hogs all the attention and it’s not fair. All the good stuff is floating beyond the Asteroid Belt. Everybody knows that.
How come Neptune barely gets any lovin’? Such a shame. Poor Mercury is almost completely ignored, and that’s just unacceptable. Let’s not even discuss Uranus.
Special thanks to Lady Bee
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