NASA's InSight lander gets closer to revealing Mars mysteries

Ohhhh, InSight's halfway there, whoaaa, soon Mars secrets it will share.

Jackson Ryan Former Science Editor
Jackson Ryan was CNET's science editor, and a multiple award-winning one at that. Earlier, he'd been a scientist, but he realized he wasn't very happy sitting at a lab bench all day. Science writing, he realized, was the best job in the world -- it let him tell stories about space, the planet, climate change and the people working at the frontiers of human knowledge. He also owns a lot of ugly Christmas sweaters.
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NASA plans to launch a relatively modest Mars lander in 2016 to study the red planet's interior.


NASA's Mars lander just reached a milestone on its way to the red planet: It's officially halfway.

NASA successfully launched the Mars InSight lander on May 5 -- the first interplanetary mission to launch from the US west coast -- and it's now well on its way to Mars at a speed of 6,200 miles per hour. On Aug. 5, NASA called it: InSight has reached the halfway point on its journey.

The lander itself is tucked neatly behind an aeroshell, to protect it during flight. Until it reaches the approach phase of its mission, NASA monitor the health of the little space robot and check in to make sure everything is working as it should be.

After trajectory correction maneuvers on May 22 and July 28, InSight is now on a relatively stable course and won't see another major correction until Oct. 12, 2018. As of writing, the little lander still has another 18,000,000 miles to fly, but it will make short work of that.

The InSight lander is scheduled to touch down on Mars on Nov. 26, where it will begin carrying out a number of experiments that will allow it to look back through time -- how the planet formed and evolved and what minerals are present under its red exterior.

You can read the full details of the Mars InSight mission in our earlier coverage.

Watch this: NASA's next mission will study the heart of Mars

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