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Landed on 26/11/2018 at 21:52:59
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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.


InSight at TEDxZurich

InSight at TEDxZurich

With the goal of studying the interior of Mars, the NASA Insight mission landed on November 26 on Elysium Planitia and a geophysical package including a seismometer was installed later on. Domenico Giardini, professor of Seismology and Geodynamics at ETH Zurich, gave a talk on the InSight mission last November in the frame of TEDxZurich.

He delivered with his team the control electronics for the seismometer on the NASA InSight mission and directs the MarsQuake Service, charged to detect and locate quakes and meteoritic impacts on Mars. He gave insight into how his team plans to find out more about the internal structure of Mars in order to understand the formation of the planet and its evolution. They also want to find out, why the magnetic field stopped, the ancient oceans disappeared, and if Mars was and still is capable to host life. Answering these questions on Mars will in turn enable to better understand why Earth is so unique and more generally the origin and evolution of the solar system.

Listen to the full talk here.

Successful positioning of seismometer

Successful positioning of seismometer

Since the SEIS package with the sensors was placed on the ground about one meter away from the spacecraft, recent progress has focussed on levelling SEIS. Further work focused on removing ambient noise disturbing SEIS. One source of such noise is probably the tether - the cable between the lander and SEIS.

The tether has been let down to the ground to remove tension in the cable. The past few days have been spent releasing a shunt on the tether near SEIS, creating a mechanical separation between the tether and the seismometer in order to further stop noise reaching the sensor. Additionally, the seismometer has now crouched down in order to hear faint signals better. Now that SEIS is levelled, the main sensor, the VBB, has since begun sending back data. First impressions look good, but there is still a lot of analysis to be conducted.


Seismometer in position

Seismometer in position

InSight placed today its seismometer on the surface of Mars. We cannot wait to register and analyze first marsquakes!


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.