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CNES To Build Seismometer for NASA’s Mars InSight Mission

InSight lander on Mars. Credit: JPL/NASA artist's concept

PARIS — The French space agency, CNES, said Dec. 11 its board of directors has approved a $42 million investment to provide a seismometer for NASA’s InSight probe, to be launched to the surface of Mars in 2016.

In cooperation with other European laboratories, CNES will provide the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structures (SEIS) seismometer. InSight will deploy a probe to the martian surface to study Mars’ geology and internal structure.

Measuring Mars’ seismic activity is a principal goal of the mission, which will attempt to measure Mars’ internal temperatures and their variation. InSight is designed to operate for two Earth years, equivalent to one Martian year.

In addition to France, institutes in Germany, Switzerland and Britain, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California collaborated on the development of SEIS.

CNES and French laboratories also contributed to two instruments onboard NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, which landed in August.

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