NASA to do 1st interplanetary launch from West Coast in May

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- NASA's next trip to Mars is little more than a month away and the scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory showed off the technology that will be riding onboard the lander.

The mission is dubbed InSight, an acronym for "Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport."

The goal is to study the deep interior of the red planet and help scientists better understand how Earth and other rocky planets developed.

"In essence it will take the vital signs of Mars, its pulse temperature and much more," said NASA administrator Thomas Zurbuchen. "We like to say it's the first thorough checkup since the planet formed (more than) 4 billion years ago."

This will also be NASA's first interplanetary launch from the West Coast.

InSight is slated to liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 5 around 4 a.m.

NASA said the early morning launch should provide spectacular views throughout Southern California, rivaling those from the SpaceX launch last December.
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