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Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 756-2448
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Email: physics@calpoly.edu
Chair: Karl Saunders

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Mars InSight Mission Roadshow Visits Cal Poly April 28

 Artist rendering of InSight Mission on Mars

Mars InSight Mission Exhibit and Presentation
Saturday, April 28, 12:30 p.m.
Chumash Auditorium

The Mars InSight Mission Roadshow is coming to the Cal Poly campus at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, in the Chumash auditorium.  The mission, led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will be the first to study the deep interior of the Red Planet.

The roadshow presentation comes ahead of InSight’s pre-dawn launch, which could occur as early as May 5, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the first interplanetary mission to launch from Vandenberg and the West Coast. It is expected to land on Mars on Nov. 26

InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. Information from the mission is expected to advance understanding of how all rocky planets, including Earth, formed and evolved.

Featured speaker Troy Lee Hudson is a technologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). His presentation about the mission will explain how the InSight robotic lander will help scientists make comparisons between seismic activity on Earth and Mars. 

The rocket that will loft InSight beyond Earth will also launch a separate NASA technology experiment: two mini-spacecraft called Mars Cube One, or MarCO. These briefcase-sized communication CubeSats will fly on their own path to Mars behind InSight.

Their goal is to test new miniaturized deep space communication equipment and, if the MarCOs make it to Mars, may relay back InSight data as it enters the Martian atmosphere and lands. This will be a first test of miniaturized CubeSat technology at another planet, which researchers hope can offer new capabilities to future missions.

Cal Poly engineering students assisted Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems and JPL in the preparation and testing of of twin MarCO units. They are the first CubeSats to be used for an interplanetary purpose. 

In addition to the talk, an exhibit on the MarCO spacecraft will begin at 11:30. Visitors can talk with engineers from JPL and Tyvak as well as Cal Poly students involved in the project.

For additional information about the event, call 805-756-2448.

Learn more about the InSight mission

Learn more about NASA's journey to Mars
 

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