Mission To Mars Successfully Launched

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Mission To Mars Successfully Launched
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Mars Launch captured from Rancho del Ciervo (Photo: Mike Troy)

NASA InSight's mission to Mars successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:05 a.m. Saturday.

The Atlas V 401 rocket launched the first interplanetary mission from the West Coast and NASA's InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, making it the first outer space robotic explorer to study the interior of Mars. NASA's previous interplanetary missions launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Photo: NASA InSight

The rocket also carried two suitcase-size spacecraft, designed to orbit Mars. If all goes well after a six-month journey, InSight will land just north of the Martian equator on November 26, joining five other NASA spacecraft operating on and above Mars.

NASA reports the 790-pound probe will then start its two-year science mission to seek the "fingerprints" of the processes that formed the rocky planets of the solar system. It will measure the planet's "vital signs: 'its "pulse' (seismology), 'temperature' (heat flow) and 'reflexes' (precision tracking)."

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a video that InSight's mission aims to answer if we're alone in the universe and if there's potential for life on another planet.  "This is an important mission not just for the United States but an important mission for the world," he said, "so we can better understand why planets change and ultimately understand even more about our own planet."

Photos by edhat readers

Mars Lander Insight probe launch from Vandenberg.  Atlas 5 rocket in flight. Nikon D500 camera, 500 mm lens, 1/100 sec, f/5.6, iso 12,800, handheld. Taken from the Isla Vista bluffs - Bruce Murdock

Here is a picture of the Atlas V InSight launch taken 4 minutes 37 seconds later than the last posted picture.   The rocket exhaust plume can be seen.  The rocket is now mostly out of the earth's atmosphere, and the exhaust gasses balloon way out.  Unfortunately, the picture is looking much more directly up the rocket's tail, and the rocket body is hidden by the exhaust plume.  Picture details: Nikon D500, f/5.6, 1/8 second, 390 mm, iso 12,800, handheld.

Past Articles

 May 3, 2018: Red Planet Launch

 May 4, 2018: Will the Mars Launch Continue?

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7 Comments

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a-1566701143 May 06, 2018 05:35 PM
Mission To Mars Successfully Launched

Classic demonstration of the vagaries in the reliability of eyewitnesses. The caption reads Nikon but the commenter says Canon.

a-1566701143 May 05, 2018 12:32 PM
Mission To Mars Successfully Launched

Great shot Bruce. You've got a steady hand... that 500mm lens needs at least 1/500th sec for a sharp image.

photodude May 06, 2018 03:00 PM
Mission To Mars Successfully Launched

Thanks for the kudos. The Nikon 200-500 mm lens has superb vibration reduction: about 4-1/2 stops equivalent shutter speed increase. I can take a 1/5 second, 500 mm, handheld picture and have it be clear. Some of the pictures later in the launch were taken at 500 mm, 1/8 second and are clear. The exhaust had become voluminous, as it was viewed more axially on the rocket. I would attach it to this comment, but I don't know how.

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