logos background logos background Logo ETH Logo Insight ETH Zurich on Mars
En De
Landed on 26/11/2018 at 21:52:59
Page content starts here

Taking Mars' pulse at ETH Zurich?

NASA's unmanned InSight mission will make this possible by landing geophysical instruments on the surface of the Red Planet, allowing us to explore its interior. The instruments on board will include a seismometer to record marsquakes and meteorite impacts. Several groups at ETH Zurich are responsible for the sensor's data acquisition and control electronics and will evaluate and interpret the acquired data.


News from the Red Planet

News from the Red Planet

InSight landed successfully on Mars on 26 November 2018 and had some time to settle, i.e. extending its robotic arm. An Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on its elbow, is going take photos of the terrain in front of the lander. These images will help mission team members determine where to set InSight's seismometer and heat flow probe — the only instruments ever to be robotically placed on the surface of another planet. A full mosaic of what InSight surroundings look like is expected by early next week.

Another camera, called the Instrument Context Camera, is located under the lander's deck. It will also offer views of the workspace, though the view won't be as pretty as dust accumulated on its lens.
Placement of the instruments is critical, and the team is therefore proceeding with caution. It could take up to two to three months before the instruments have been situated and calibrated.
Two of InSight’s sensors, an air pressure sensor inside the lander and the seismometer sitting on the lander's deck, captured the sound of wind on 1 December 2018, from northwest to southeast.
This is the only phase of the mission during which the seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), will be capable of detecting vibrations generated directly by the lander. In a few weeks, it will be placed on the Martian surface by InSight's robotic arm in order to detect the lander's movement, allowing it to detect marsquakes. SEIS will detect vibrations caused by them, that can tell us more about the Red Planet’s interior.
Listen how wind sounds on Mars for yourself here.


InSight landed on Mars!

InSight landed on Mars!

On 26 November 2018 the time had come: InSight successfully landed on the Elysium plain. This was not an easy task. It was only possible thanks to technologies that had been tried and tested in earlier missions and played together perfectly. The InSight mission had to overcome additional difficulties: Compared to other Mars missions, it entered the atmosphere with a slower velocity, was heavier, landed at a higher point and at a meteorologically less favourable time due to a high risk of sandstorms. Beginning from the entry into the atmosphere, the entire landing took six minutes. By this time, the mission had already covered a distance of approximately 483 million kilometres and spent 205 days in space.

The successful landing is an important milestone in fulfilling the scientific objectives of the mission. At ETH Zurich, we are particularly interested in the origin and development of Mars and its inner structure. We can therefore hardly wait until the seismometer is set down on the surface of Mars and the first measurement data arrives, which researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH and the Institute of Geophysics will then immediately evaluate. InSight is thus also the start of a new era: For the first time, scientific data on the before-mentioned topics will be collected and the first results will be awaited with anticipation. First marsquake measurements are expected for early January if everything goes according to plan.

Have you missed it? Watch the landing here.


InSight landing live at bQm

On 26 November 2018, it's time: InSight lands on Mars and bQm is the place to be to cheer along.

The landing of the InSight lander on Mars promises to be exciting again! Only if it succeeds will researchers at ETH Zurich be able to evaluate first data to find out more about the interior of the red planet. The fact that a successful landing is not that easy is demonstrated by the 60 percent of Mars missions that did not reach their destination as planned.

For a safe landing, a number of different actions need to be perfectly coordinated. First of all, InSight will rotate in such a way that it breaks through the atmosphere with its heat shield first. This shield protects the lander from temperatures of up to 1,500 C°. Then the parachute opens. After entering the atmosphere, the parachute slows the beginning rate of fall (385 m/s) until landing. In support, retro-rockets will be launched to additionally slow down the fall within the last 100 meters.

Come and help us to keep our fingers crossed! The live broadcast of the NASA coverage at bQm starts at 8 pm. The landing is scheduled for around 8.50 pm and we expect to receive first pictures from Mars at 9.15 p.m.. We recommend arriving earlier due to the limited number of seats.

Watch the landing live

bQm Kulturcafe & Bar | Leonhardstrasse 34 | 8092 Zürich | www.bqm-bar.ch

Download event flyer


2018-03-23 to 2019-06-16

Expedition Solar System

focusTerra looks forward to welcoming you to its special exhibition "Expedition Solar System" at ETH Zurich! Besides InSight, ETH is at the forefront of two other space missions. The exhibition will take you on a journey to the Moon, to Mars, to Venus and all the way to the edge of our solar system.

Learn more

InSight lander

Explore the interactive graphic and learn more about the InSight lander and its instruments.


Learn more about the InSight mission in The Oatmeal's cartoon.