NASA Mars Mission Tours California

Scientists and engineers with NASA’s next mission to Mars will be touring California cities starting this month.

NASA’s InSight mission will be the first interplanetary launch from the West Coast. In preparation for its May launch, the Mars InSight Roadshow is stopping at cities along the earthquake-prone California coast to explain how the robotic lander will study Mars’ deep interior using seismology and other geophysical measurements.

The Roadshow brings family-friendly science activities, exhibits and public talks to communities throughout California, making comparisons between earthquakes and the marsquakes that InSight will try to detect. The Roadshow will also partner with local and national organizations along the way, promoting planetary science and showing the benefits of NASA earthquake data gathered by Earth-observing satellites. All the museums are members of the NASA Museum Alliance.

InSight’s launch window opens May 5 at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, northwest of Santa Barbara. InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. It will be the first mission to study the deep interior of Mars, using an ultra-sensitive seismometer, a heat-flow probe and other instruments. InSight is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

What to Expect:

  • “Make Your Own Marsquake” demo, in which members of the public jump and see seismometer readings on a screen
  • Interviews with NASA scientists and engineers
  • Colorful backdrops and selfie stations
  • Models of the InSight spacecraft
  • Mars globe “cutaways” showing the interior of Mars
  • Virtual reality headsets used to see panoramas of Mars

Who to Expect:

  • Members of InSight’s mission and science teams
  • JPL’s Mars public engagement team
  • NASA Solar System Ambassadors

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