Cruise Stage of NASA's InSight SpacecraftLockheed Martin spacecraft specialists check the cruise stage of NASA's InSight spacecraft in this photo taken June 22, 2017, in a Lockheed Martin clean room facility in Littleton, Colorado. The cruise stage will provide vital functions during the flight from Earth to Mars, and then will be jettisoned before the InSight lander, enclosed in its aeroshell, enters Mars' atmosphere.
The InSight mission (for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is scheduled to launch in May 2018 and land on Mars Nov. 26, 2018. It will investigate processes that formed and shaped Mars and will help scientists better understand the evolution of our inner solar system's rocky planets, including Earth.
InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program of competitively selected solar system exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery Program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages InSight for the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin