It was manufactured by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and most of its scientific instruments were built by European agencies. The mission launched on 5 May 2018 at 11:05 UTC aboard an Atlas V-401 rocket and successfully landed at Elysium Planitia on Mars on 26 November 2018 at 19:52:59 UTC.
InSight’s objectives are to place a seismometer, called SEIS, on the surface of Mars to measure seismic activity and provide accurate 3D models of the planet’s interior; and measure internal heat flow using a heat probe called HP3 to study Mars’ early geological evolution.
On 28 February 2019, the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package probe (HP³) started digging into the surface of Mars. The probe and its digging mole were intended to reach a maximum depth of 5 m (16 ft) but it only went about 35 cm (14 in), or three-quarters of the way out of its housing structure. After many attempts, the effort was given up as a failure in January 2021.
In April 2019, NASA reported that the Mars InSight lander detected its first marsquake.
In September 2019, researchers reported that InSight uncovered unexplained magnetic pulses, and magnetic oscillations.
The InSight lander, powered by solar panels and batteries, relies on periodic wind gusts called cleaning events to reduce dust accumulation on the panels. Elysium Planitia, the landing site of InSight, has experienced fewer cleaning events than needed to keep the science operations powered. In February 2021, at the start of the Martian winter, InSight’s solar cells were producing 27% of capacity due to a thick covering of dust on the panels. At that time NASA began the process of putting the lander into hibernation mode, shutting down data-gathering instruments on a schedule to conserve enough power to keep the lander electronics warm through the Martian winter.