Education and
Public Engagement
at the Lunar and Planetary Institute

InSight Launch to Mars

May 5, 2018


The InSight mission to Mars launches May 5, 2018 (first opportunity) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. After a nearly seven month cruise, the fixed lander is scheduled to touch down on the Martian surface on November 26, 2018. The InSight mission seeks to understand the evolutionary formation of rocky planets by investigating the interior structure and processes of Mars.

InSight’s launch and landing are opportunities to capitalize on the excitement of Mars exploration – hold a Mars-themed event while discussing this unique mission to the Red Planet. If you wait until November to hold a landing event, Mars will be near the zenith about 6:00 p.m. local time making it a great target for telescopic viewing.

Suggested Activity
Recipe for a Planet is a simple, fun (and sometimes messy) activity where participants build edible models of Earth (below) and Mars to compare their sizes and illustrate their internal layers. This activity is intended to be conducted in an informal learning setting such as a public library, science center, museum, etc. with elementary and middle school-aged learners.

Models of Earth and Mars