Exploring the Birth of Rocky Planets - The InSight Mission to Mars
The InSight spacecraft will launch from California in May 2016, landing on the surface of Mars six months later to begin its two-year science mission. It will provide a window into the fundamental processes of terrestrial planet formation and evolution by performing the first comprehensive investigation of the deep interior of Mars. For the first time we will obtain key information on the composition and structure of an Earth-like planet that has gone through the same set of evolutionary stages that the Earth experienced up to, but not including, plate tectonics. InSight will do this using the powerful geophysical techniques of seismology, precision tracking, and heat flow measurement.
W. Bruce Banerdt
Dr. Bruce Banerdt is a planetary geophysicist, working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. His research focuses on the geological history of the planet Mars and geophysical investigations of the interiors of terrestrial planets using analyses of gravity, magnetic, topographic and seismic data. He has participated in numerous planetary flight instrument teams, including the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeters on Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor, the Synthetic Aperture Radar on the Magellan mission to Venus, the Seismometer on the NetLander mission to Mars (cruelly canceled 2 years before launch) and the SESAME Acoustic Sounder on the European Rosetta comet mission. In addition, he served as Project Scientist for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers for six years, helped develop a broad-band space-qualified MEMS seismometer, and has been working for the past 25 years to send seismometers to other planets, particularly Mars. Dr. Banerdt is currently the Principal Investigator of the InSight Discovery mission.
"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Jim Benet
Pre-meeting Slide Show (~2 MB)
Club Announcements (~2 MB)