Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., are preparing to give extra thanks this holiday weekend when their latest mission to Mars — the InSight Mars Lander — touches down on the surface of the Red Planet on Monday afternoon.
The landing kicks off a two-year mission in which InSight will become the first spacecraft to study Mars' deep interior, according to NASA's website. Astronomy contributor Jean Creighton says the data it collects and sends back will help scientists understand the formation of all rocky worlds, including our own.
"How big is the core of Mars? What is the composition of it, is the core liquid or solid? I mean, you’d think that we know these things [already], but we don’t," she says.