The National Aeronautics and Space Administration on March 30, 2018, announced to send its first-ever mission to Mars to study its deep interior and find traces of how it was formed. Scheduled to be launched on May 5, 2018, NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport will be the first-ever mission dedicated to studying the heart of Mars. It also will be the first NASA mission, after the Apollo Moon Landings, to place a seismometer on the soil of another planet. The seismometer is a device that measures quakes. France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales led a multinational team that built an ultra-sensitive seismometer for detecting marsquakes. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) developed a thermal probe that can bury itself up to five meters underground and measure heat flowing from inside the planet.

The US space agency said that it also will be the first NASA mission since the Apollo moon landings to place a seismometer, a device that measures quakes, on the soil of another planet.