Get a 360-degree view of Mars lander’s testbed

InSight lander
Engineers test a replica of NASA’s InSight lander as it lifts a wind shield with its robotic arm, under Mars-style illumination in a testbed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (NASA / JPL via YouTube)

When NASA’s InSight lander touches down on Mars in November, its handlers already will have had lots of practice operating its cranelike robot arm — thanks to an InSight knockoff sitting in a plot of simulated Martian grit back on Earth.

The Mars-style testbed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., is the focus of a newly released 360-degree video clip.

JPL’s scientists and engineers use the testbed, set up in a facility known as the In-Situ Instrument Lab, to simulate the terrain in which Mars probes might find themselves.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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