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California Air Force Base NASA's InSight spacecraft launched towards Mars

From red / AFP

NASA's first Mars mission since 2012 got off to a successful start. Germany is also involved in the research project.

Vandenberg Air Force Base - The US space agency Nasa sent the InSight space probe to Mars on Saturday as planned. An Atlas rocket with the probe was launched at 7:05 a.m. local time (1:05 ​​p.m. CEST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. In six months, on November 26th, the probe will land on Mars and spend two years researching the early history of the red planet. "Three, two, one, start," commented a NASA employee as the rocket took off into the dark and foggy morning sky.

It was NASA's first Mars mission since 2012. One of the main experiments of the mission comes from Germany - a small probe from the German Space Center (DLR) that is supposed to hammer five meters deep into the Martian soil. There the probe should measure temperature and thermal conductivity. The HP3 experiment (“Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package”) is to be set by the InSight space probe on the Martian soil around the turn of the year 2018/19.

The start has been postponed

The SEIS seismograph will meanwhile precisely analyze the core, mantle and crust of Mars. It was constructed in France with help from Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain. The launch of InSight, originally planned for March 2016, had been postponed due to design problems at SEIS.