It’s showtime for launch of Mars InSight lander

Mars InSight lander
An artist’s impression shows the Mars InSight lander and a cutaway view of Mars’ subsurface, with the lander’s heat probe deployed underground. (NASA Illustration)

NASA’s Mars InSight lander is being prepped for a launch that will send some magical science and engineering toward the Red Planet, including two pint-sized piggyback probes and a seismometer that can measure distances less than the width of an atom.

Now, if only NASA could work its magic on the weather for May 5’s scheduled 4:05 a.m. PT liftoff from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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