NASA's New Mars Lander InSight Just Passed a Crucial Test
Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said that said that the spacecraft will be like "Mars' first health checkup in more than 4.5 billion years...We'll study its pulse by 'listening' for marsquakes with a seismometer. We'll take its temperature with a heat probe. And we'll check its reflexes with a radio experiment."
In addition to all the necessary equipment and sensors to complete its mission, InSight will also launch with microchips that include the names of over 2.4 million Earthlings. "It's a fun way for the public to feel personally invested in the mission," Banerdt said. "We're happy to have them along for the ride."
Once InSight lands on Mars, the rover will pave the way for NASA's bold colonization plans, which include using a mini-nuclear reactor—the "kilopower project"—to power future colonies.
Of course, that assumes humans aren't the only ones on the Red Planet. No less than legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin recently suggested that Mars and its moon Phobos may not be all that they seem—he believes it's more than likely they're hiding alien life.