Revealing the Heart of Mars

If you thought ETH Zurich research was out of this world, you might just be right. Technology developed by researchers in the Aerospace Electronics and Instrument Lab along with U.S. and European partners will be included in the NASA 2016 InSight mission to Mars.

von Marianne Lucien
Vergrösserte Ansicht: Model of the NASA 2016 InSight mission to Mars Lander (1:2 scale) - Photo: Courtesy the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington D.C. - Soirée Suisse 2015
Model of the NASA 2016 InSight mission to Mars Lander (1:2 scale) - Photo: Courtesy the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington D.C. - Soirée Suisse 2015
Image of the InSight Mars Lander (1:2 scale model) displayed during the Soirée Suisse 2015 event in Washington D.C.   Photo: ETH Zurich, Ulrike Kastrup
Image of the InSight Mars Lander (1:2 scale model) displayed during the Soirée Suisse 2015 event in Washington D.C. - Photo: ETH Zurich, Ulrike Kastrup.

ETH Zurich Meets Mars

ETH Zurich researchers have been working with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the U.S. and European partners from France, the United Kingdom, and Germany to deliver a seismometer for the externe SeiteNASA 2016 InSight mission to Mars. InSight is the first mission to target a geophysical investigation of the interior structure of the red planet with the aim to increase our understanding of the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets and advance our scientific knowledge of the origin and history of the solar system. A robotic arm will install the seismometer on the surface of Mars to detect and measure seismic activity and to gather evidence of the interior structure. The Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES France) will lead the seismometer experiment. The Swiss contribution consists of the seismometer electronics, power management, and control electronics (Ebox) delivered by ETH Zurich's Aerospace Electronics and Instrument Lab (AEIL) and by Syderal SA, with the support of the Swiss Space Office.

The mission is scheduled to launch in March and land in September 2016.  FocusTerra, the earth science museum at ETH Zurich, will host a major exhibition on Mars and the planets in our solar system to mark the occasion of the landing. As part of the mission, ETH Zurich's AEIL will be responsible for the MarsQuake Service. Charged with analyzing the seismic data recorded on Mars as well as detecting and locating seismic events, AEIL's research will contribute to the first seismic catalogue for Mars.

Mars Lander Model at Soirée Suisse

A 1:2 scale model of the externe SeiteInSight Mars Lander was unveiled earlier this week in Washington D.C. during the annual Soirée Suisse – a gala reception held at the residence of the Swiss Ambassador, Martin Dahinden. As a founding member of the European Space Agency, Switzerland was honoured to celebrate forty years of contributions to space research and exploration during the event. Swiss scientists and engineers presented current research projects related to space and aerospace technologies to high-ranking guests from the Swiss and U.S. political arenas, as well as members of the private sector, academia, and the arts.

 

Vergrösserte Ansicht: Photo: Courtesy the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington DC Soiree Suisse 2015
Model of the NASA 2016 InSight mission to Mars Lander (1:2 scale) - Photo: Courtesy the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington D.C. - Soirée Suisse 2015
Vergrösserte Ansicht: Image of the InSight Mars Lander (1:2 scale model) displayed during the Soirée Suisse 2015 event in Washington D.C.   Photo: ETH Zurich, Kim Hunziker
Image of the InSight Mars Lander (1:2 scale model) displayed during the Soirée Suisse 2015 event in Washington D.C. - Photo: ETH Zurich, Ulrike Kastrup.
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