This year it looks like the ultimate Cinco de Mayo party is going to be in California, when NASA launches the spacecraft "Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport" OR "InSight" for short.
The journey to Mars will not last anywhere near 30 Seconds, but closer to six months, with a scheduled arrival of November 26th. InSight will be exploring and collecting data for one Mars year or 728 Earth days.
Touchdown is expected somewhere on Elysium Planitia, a flat expanse described as "Kansas without the corn" (cue references to bands Kansas and Toto). So why land in the middle of nowhere? This mission is the first of its kind, concentrating on the everyday bits and pieces of Mars, the red dirt on the planet as well as any debris hitting it from above.
InSight's mission is twofold:
1. Understanding the formation and evolution of Mars, studying its crust, mantle and core. (Or in our opinion, will these elements work for a human colony?)
2. Determine the level of tectonic activity and meteorite impact rate. (Or, will Earthlings get hit by a space rock or swallowed up in a "Mars-quake" when we live there?)
With these goals in mind, all signs seem to point to exploring the question "can we one day live on the red planet. . . and if so, what will we be listening to?" Good luck to InSight and the whole NASA team - - we cannot wait to hear the results!
In the meantime, here's a Playlist of all songs pointing to Mars.