Principal Investigator of the Mars Insight Mission


Dr. Banerdt has spent the last 20 years working to put a seismometer on Mars. Seismology is the “gold standard” for investigations on Earth, he says. In addition to heading InSight’s science team, Banerdt is the lead for the mission’s SEIS instrument, which will bring the power of Earth-based seismology to the Red Planet. For him, InSight represents a unique opportunity to get a window into the “hidden” processes that shaped not only Mars, but also all the terrestrial planets.


Talk Title: The InSight Mission to Mars

InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program that enables small-scale, highly focused missions to answer critical questions about how our Solar System formed. The lander is equipped with geophysical instruments to study the deep interior of Mars.  Its investigations are designed to illuminate the processes that shaped the terrestrial planets of the inner solar system more than four billion years ago.

InSight landed on Mars in November 2018.  With a highly sensitive seismometer, heat flow probe, radio science instrument, and cameras, InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of rocky planet formation.  InSight will measure the planet’s “vital signs”: Its “pulse” (seismology), “temperature” (heat flow probe), and “reflexes” (precision tracking).




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