NASA's InSight mission to study the deep interior of Mars blasted off to the Red Planet on Saturday aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.
InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all rocky planets formed, including Earth and its Moon.
The craft is bound for a broad plain near the Martian equator, the Elysium Planitia, where the InSight lander will attempt to push a probe below the surface of Mars to gather data on its interior.
"This is a big day", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who took over leadership of the space agency just last month, in a call with mission scientists.
Banerdt and Lognonne went their separate ways but stayed in touch, linked in part by the dream of putting a seismometer on Mars. "This is an extraordinary mission with a whole host of firsts". The rocket also carried two suitcase-size spacecraft, created to orbit Mars.InSight embarked on a six-month journey will is expected to land upon Mars on November 26 joining five other NASA spacecraft operating on Mars.
The mission was rescheduled for May to June 2018, the next window of opportunity for a Mars launch.
The probe is expected to reach Mars on Nov. 26 and conduct experiments until November 2020.