Seven professors and researchers from the Nantes Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique (LPG – Université de Nantes – Université d’Angers – CNRS) are contributing to InSight, a new space mission to Mars led by the American space agency NASA. InSight took off from California on 5 May 2018 and landed on Mars on 26 November 2018, for a nominal term of 2 years.

Mars

The InSight probe has three instruments on board to study the internal structure of the red planet – never before explored – including the SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) seismometer, from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The objective is to evaluate the seismicity of Mars and to estimate the thickness of its different layers. A series of experiments will be conducted in conjunction with other geophysical experiments such as heat flux measurements, geodetic observations and magnetic measurements.

Recognized for their skills and expertise in the field, the LPG team has been involved in the preparations for this mission from the start. Antoine Mocquet (SEIS Co-investigator) and a group of six researchers and lecturer-researchers (Eric Beucler, Véronique Ansan, Mickaël Bonnin, Olivier Verhoeven, Benoît Langlais and Yann Capdeville) have worked on projects including the development of seismometer data analysis software and on instrument deployment and calibration operations. Throughout the mission, over the coming months, they will participate in the assessment of Martian seismicity and the development of structural models.

This scientific and technical involvement of the Nantes laboratory is part of a close collaboration with the team of Philippe Lognonné (Co-investigator and SEIS Investigation Lead) at Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and all the teams associated with the project at national and international levels.