In the Astrotech facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the heatshield is placed on NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, or InSight, Mars lander prior to encapsulation in its payload fairing. InSight will be the first mission to look deep beneath the Martian surface. It will study the planet's interior by measuring its heat output and listen for marsquakes. The spacecraft will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior. The resulting insight into Mars’ formation will provide a better understanding of how other rocky planets, including Earth, were created. InSight is scheduled for liftoff May 5, 2018.
Photo credit: USAF 30th Space Wing/Aaron Taubman