InSight Lander

InSight Lander was the first outer space robotic explorer to study in depth the inner space of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.

Occurred 2 years ago




May 5, 2018




Study Mars' interior structure

The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) was a NASA Discovery Program mission that placed a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior. But InSight was more than a Mars mission. It addressed one of the most fundamental issues of planetary science: understanding the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago. The mission ended in December 2022 after more than four years of collecting unique science on Mars.

The insight lander is fully opened with solar panels spread wide for this cleanroom photo. Several engineers are working on the rover.
The solar arrays on NASA's InSight lander are deployed in this test inside a clean room at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver. This configuration is how the spacecraft will look on the surface of Mars. The image was taken on April 30, 2015.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin Space

Meet InSight

A 3D model of NASA's InSight Mars lander.
NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development (VTAD)

The lander was built on the proven design of NASA's Mars Phoenix lander. InSight's robotic arm was over 5 feet 9 inches (1.8 meters) long. It lifted a seismometer and heat flow probe from the deck and placed them on the surface.

Wind Sounds on Mars

InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the Martian wind, estimated to be blowing at 10 to 15 mph (5 to 7 meters a second) on Dec. 1, 2018. The winds were consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit.

Listen to Martian wind blow across NASA’s InSight lander.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/IPGP/Imperial College/Cornell

Key Dates

  • Launched: May 5, 2018 (4:05 a.m. PT/7:05 a.m. ET)
  • Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-401
  • Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
  • Landed: Nov. 26, 2018, at 11:52:59 a.m. PT (2:52:59 p.m. ET)
  • Landing Site: Elysium Planitia, Mars
  • End of Mission: Dec. 15, 2022

Read More

  • Objective

    The InSight mission had two major goals, each with several science investigations, designed to help uncover the process that shaped all of the rocky planets in the inner solar system.

  • Science

    InSight studied the deep interior of Mars and was designed to take the planet's vital signs: its pulse, temperature, and reflexes.


  • Resources

    Visit the one-stop-shop for all InSight media


  • Raw Images

    View raw images sent back by InSight from its explorations on Mars.


Landing Site

  • This black and white orbital view of Mars is marked with the InSight landing site.

    Elysium Planitia

    InSight landed near Mars' equator on the western side of a flat, smooth plain called Elysium Planitia. Elysium Planitia was selected not for its surface features, but for safety considerations. InSight's purpose was to study the interior of Mars, not the surface. Thus, in the selection of a landing site, what's on the surface mattered less than for previous rover missions focused on the geology.

    Planitia is Latin for a flat surface, geometric plane, or flatness or a plain. Elysium is from the ancient Greek name for an afterlife paradise, usually referred to in English as the Elysian Fields. The landing site lies in the western portion of Elysium Planitia, centered at about 4.5 degrees north latitude and 135.9 degrees east longitude. This is just 373 miles (600 kilometers) from Curiosity’s landing site, Gale Crater.

    Image Caption: The red dot marks the final landing location of NASA's InSight lander in this annotated image of the surface of Mars, taken by the THEMIS camera on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter in 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

Keep Exploring

Discover More Topics From NASA