Magazine article The Elementary STEM Journal

What's It like Inside Mars

Magazine article The Elementary STEM Journal

What's It like Inside Mars

Article excerpt

Mars is Earth's neighbor in the solar system. NASA's robotic explorers have visited our neighbor quite a few times. By orbiting, landing, and roving on the Red Planet, we've learned so much about Martian canyons, volcanoes, rocks, and soil. However, we still don't know exactly what Mars is like on the inside. This information could give scientists some really important clues about how Mars and the rest of our solar system formed.

This spring, NASA is launching a new mission to study the inside of Mars. It's called Mars InSight. InSight--short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport--is a lander. When InSight lands on Mars later this year, it won't drive around on the surface of Mars like a rover does. Instead, InSight will land, place instruments on the ground nearby, and begin collecting information.

Just like a doctor uses instruments to understand what's going on inside your body, InSight will use three science instruments to figure out what's going on inside Mars.

One of these instruments is called a seismometer. On Earth, scientists use seismometers to study the vibrations that happen during earthquakes. InSight's seismometer will measure the vibrations of earthquakes on Mars--known as marsquakes. We know that on Earth, different materials vibrate in different ways. By studying the vibrations from marsquakes, scientists hope to figure out what materials are found inside Mars.

InSight will also carry a heat probe that will take the temperature on Mars. …

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