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  • Context (DTE): Seismic data from NASA’s InSight mission shows Mars’ thin atmosphere leaves it vulnerable to frequent meteorite bombardments.


  • Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in our solar system.
  • Its soil contains iron oxide, which gives the planet its reddish appearance and thus the name Red Planet.
  • Its surface is covered with craters, valleys, volcanoes, and canyons.
  • Mars’ atmosphere is very thin, consisting primarily of carbon dioxide. Due to this and the lack of a magnetic field, the surface of Mars is exposed to high levels of radiation from the Sun and space.
  • Mars has the tallest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons.
  • Liquid water may have existed on Mars, and there’s evidence of ice caps on its poles.
  • Mars has two small, irregularly shaped moons called Phobos and Deimos. They are thought to be captured asteroids.

Insight Mission

  • The InSight mission (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) was a robotic lander launched by NASA in 2018.
  • It was designed to study Mars’ seismic activity, core, and crust to understand its evolutionary history.
  • The lander carried two key instruments:
    • a seismometer to detect Marsquake.
    • a heat flow probe to measure the heat coming from Mars’ interior.
  • It also found evidence of a liquid magma ocean in Mars’ past, suggesting that the planet had a much more dynamic geological history than previously thought.

Some other important Mars Mission of NASA

  • Viking 1 & 2: The first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars and search for evidence of life.
  • Mars Pathfinder: The first mission to deploy a rover (Sojourner) on the Martian surface.
  • Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity rovers analysed Martian geology and searched for evidence of past water.
  • MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission, 2013-ongoing): An orbiter studying the Martian atmosphere to understand how it changed over time.
  • ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (2016-ongoing): An orbiter studying the Martian atmosphere and searching for signs of life.
  • Perseverance Rover (2020-ongoing): A rover collecting Martian rock samples for return to Earth.

Mangalyaan (2013-2022)

  • It was India’s first interplanetary mission, also known as the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).
  • The Mangalyaan spacecraft was designed and built by the ISRO for $74 million, which is considered a low cost compared to other Mars missions.
  • Launched in 2013, the Mangalyaan spacecraft entered Mars orbit in 2014, making India the fourth nation to reach Mars, after the Soviet Union, the United States, and the European Space Agency.
  • During its orbit around Mars, Mangalyaan studied the planet’s ionosphere, surface features, and atmospheric composition.
  • The spacecraft continued to transmit data until August 2022, longer than its initial design life of 6 months.
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