InSight is a robotic lander mission to Mars planned for launch in March 2016. The name stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.
The mission’s objective is to place a stationary lander equipped with a seismometer and heat flow probe on the surface of Mars to study its early geological evolution. This would bring new understanding of the Solar System’s terrestrial planets — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars — and Earth’s Moon. By reusing technology from the Mars Phoenix lander, which successfully landed on Mars in 2008, it is expected that the cost and risk will be reduced.
InSight was initially known as GEMS (Geophysical Monitoring Station), but changed its name in early 2012 at the request of NASA. Out of 28 proposals from 2010, it was one of the three Discovery Program finalists receiving US$3 million in May 2011 to develop a detailed concept study. In August 2012, InSight was selected for development and launch. Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) with participation from scientists from several countries, the mission is cost-capped at US$425 million, not including launch vehicle funding. On 19 May 2014, NASA announced that construction of the lander will begin.