NASA's InSight mission launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base for Mars on May 5, 2018, sending a spacecraft that is expected to land on the surface of Mars on November 26, 2018. InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is the first mission dedicated to studying Mars’ deep interior. The spacecraft transports multiple instruments, including a magnetometer developed at UCLA, and a seismometer, SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure), that will record marsquakes.
EPSS Seismology professor Caroline Beghein is one of a few scientists who were selected to join the InSight science team as part of NASA’s Participating Scientist Program. She will be using the seismic signals generated by marsquakes to map the planet’s deep interior. In particular, her contribution will help determine the thickness and structure of the mantle. This will improve our knowledge of the thermal state of the interior of the planet, and help uncover how Mars and other rocky planets formed.
Professor Philippe Lognonné, who is the SEIS Principal Investigator, will be a UCLA EPSS visiting professor in Winter quarter 2019, when the spacecraft will be sending its seismometer data to Earth.