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21 December 2018

A bit of France on Mars!

The InSight mission has successfully landed on Mars with the European seismometer Seis onboard. A little piece of French know-how has just arrived on the red planet. After Curiosity in 2012, where the robot was equipped with a French camera (ChemCam), it’s InSight’s turn to embark French and European hardware oboard.

InSight (INterior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is part of NASA’s Discovery program, which objective is the geophysical study of Mars. InSight will analyse the internal structure of the red planet to better understand how rocky planets are formed (including Earth).

The SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) seismometer will be used to probe the depths of Mars. The CNES (National Centre for Spatial Studies) supervised the manufacturing of this tool, a critical instrument to the expedition, in cooperation with several research entities from other countries (Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States).

Frédérique Vidal, minister in charge of research, welcomed the expedition’s success and said that this shows that “France and Europe are at the heart of major space exploration international missions”.

 


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