The Dawn of Interplanetary Geology
In the weeks ahead, a robotic arm will unpack some scientific instruments and place them gently on the ground. The tools will spend their entire lifetimes in these spots, pressing themselves into the surface to probe what’s going on deep below the surface. For the first time, human beings will be able to study another rocky planet in the same depth as they have their own. The mission is called the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, which the acronym connoisseurs at NASA have shortened to InSight.