Planetary Radio • May 02, 2018

All Shook Up: The InSight Mission to Mars

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On This Episode

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Bruce Banerdt

Principal Research Scientist and InSight Mission Principal Investigator

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Bill Nye

Chief Executive Officer for The Planetary Society

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Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society

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Mat Kaplan

Senior Communications Adviser and former Host of Planetary Radio for The Planetary Society

No mission to Mars has done what InSight will do. The lander’s spectacularly sensitive instruments will use the Red Planet’s heat and marsquakes to reveal its deep interior while also revealing secrets of other rocky worlds like our own Earth. Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt came to Planetary Society headquarters barely a week before launch for a long and fascinating conversation. Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye says the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft has mapped our galaxy as never before. Bruce Betts will help us explore a bit of the Milky Way in this week’s What’s Up segment.

Bruce Banerdt, InSight, and Emily Lakdawalla
Bruce Banerdt, InSight, and Emily Lakdawalla JPL's Bruce Banerdt (left) is the Principal Investigator for the Mars InSight mission. Emily Lakdawalla (right) is Senior Editor for The Planetary Society. The two met in the clean room with the InSight spacecraft as engineers performed final assembly operations in preparation for launch.Image: The Planetary Society
Mars InSight
Mars InSight InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will land on Mars on November 26, 2018.Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech
InSight nearly ready for launch
InSight nearly ready for launch At the Astrotech payload processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base on April 6, 2018, engineers readied InSight for launch. The spacecraft is in launch configuration, upside down with landing legs tucked against the body, packed inside its backshell. Red caps cover the landing rockets, which are pointed up. The backshell is, in turn, attached to the cruise stage. The remaining step is to cap the assembly with a heat shield.Image: The Planetary Society

This week's question:

What star is most commonly referred to as the Demon Star?

To submit your answer:

Complete the contest entry form at or write to us at [email protected] no later than Wednesday, May 9th at 8am Pacific Time. Be sure to include your name and mailing address.

Last week's question:

According to a NASA press kit, what does Mount Sharp, the mountain Curiosity is exploring, look like from orbit?


The answer will be revealed next week.

Question from the week before:

In Greek mythology, who were Andromeda’s mother and father? All three are constellations.


In Greek mythology, Andromeda’s mother and father were Cassiopeia and Cepheus. It was a rough childhood.