LEAPS AND BOUNDS

NASA Launches First Ever Mission to Explore Core of Mars

NASA launched its InSight space probe early Saturday to begin its first mission to explore the core of Mars. Mars InSight, the first outer space robotic explorer designed to examine the planet’s interior, blasted off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California just after 7 a.m. ET, the first interplanetary mission launched from the West Coast. The explorer is expected to touch down on Mars on Nov. 26, after which it will dig 10 to 16 feet into the crust to “take the planet’s vital signs and help us understand how rocky planets formed,” NASA said Saturday. The 790-pound space probe will conduct a two-year mission to measure the planet’s seismic activity, composition, and geologic structure.