NASA’s Insight mission to Mars is on track to launch in March 2016.  The go-ahead was given yesterday to start work on the new Mars lander, which will penetrate below the planet's surface using a seismometer and a heat probe.

Principal investigator Bruce Banerdt at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory says some plants go hot, like Venus -- others are cold and dead, like the moon.

“We want to understand how that happens,” Banerdt says.  “It turns out that the way that the planet is built from the inside-out has a big effect on that.”

This mission is part of NASA’s overall goal of sending a human mission to Mars by 2030.  He says the lander will carry a seismometer and a heat probe.  What are they for?

“Probe all the way down to the core of the planet,” he explains.  “Give us an idea of what the interior of the planet looks like and what it's made of.”