CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA has launched a spacecraft to land on Mars and explore the mysterious insides of the red planet.
The Mars InSight lander rocketed away Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the first interplanetary mission ever to depart from the West Coast. It will take more than six months for the spacecraft to reach Mars and start its unprecedented geologic excavations.
The lander will dig deeper into Mars than ever before — nearly 16 feet, or 5 meters — to take the planet's temperature. It will also attempt to make the first measurements of marsquakes, using a seismometer placed directly on the Martian surface.
The Atlas V (five) rocket holds a pair of mini satellites meant to trail InSight all the way to Mars in a first-of-its-kind technology demonstration.