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We Got an Up-Close Look at NASA’s New Mars Insight Lander

NASA wants to send mankind to Mars, but before we can visit our cosmic neighbor we need to know a lot more about the Red Planet, like “what is it made out of?” and “what the heck is inside of it?” That’s why they’ll soon be launching a brand new, very special lander, to answer questions that will be vital to the safety of human exploration. Because the last thing we want to do is send our brave astronauts to a place full of Mole People. Yeah, we’re not sure if Mars is full of Mole People or not. That’s why, with so much on the line, we wanted to get an up-close look at the very important Mars Insight lander.

In this out of this world edition of Nerdist News Jessica Chobot asked newly anointed space correspondent Aliza Pearl about her visit to Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, where she got to see Insight in person. Unlike past landers, which have surveyed the planet’s atmosphere and surface, Insight is designed to examine the inner-workings of Mars’ to learn things like what the planet is made out of, how it formed, and what lies underneath it. Because it could be concealing caverns, lakes, or those dreaded underground dwellers who won’t take kindly to us “aboveground” folk.

The window for launch, which will be NASA’s first ever from the West Coast, opens on May 5th (that would make for one hell of a Cinco de Mayo celebration), and they are targeting late November for a Mars arrival. Of course, like all landers, it will still have to survive the dreaded “Seven Minutes of Terror,” where everything has to go exactly right for it to make it through Mars’ atmosphere before slowing down enough to gently land on the planet.

And then of course there could always be Mole People to deal with! What? We don’t know. Well, yeah, we probably do know, but Mole People or not Mars still has a lot of other secrets it’s hiding below the surface, and we can’t wait to find out what they are. Especially so we won’t be caught off guard when we finally get their ourselves.

What do you think Insight will learn about Mars? Give us all of your theories, no matter how nuts they might sound.

Featured Image: NASA

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