Feature Story

NASA sending lander to investigate Mars' surface

by Stephanie Chan

NASA sending lander to investigate Mars' surface

And how new 3D visualization technology is also helping map land here on Earth.

Exciting news for all space enthusiasts and planet dwellers alike—NASA will send a spacecraft to Mars in May. This is an effort to explore the surface of the red planet, from its formation to evolution. The spacecraft, called InSight, or "Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport," is a solar-powered lander that can also burrow.

InSight uses a five-finger robotic arm to get instruments from its deck and places them into Mars' surface. A camera will also show watchers what is happening from InSight's perspective. Once it lands on Mars, InSight will stay there for two years to work on its project.

This project includes testing for earthquakes, liquid water, meteorite impacts, and active volcanoes. An 18-inch probe can burrow into Mars' ground to test for heat in the soil. InSight must be able to withstand temperatures from 70 degrees to -100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cisco, 3D visualization, and geoscience

Similar surface testing is being done on our own home planet as well. Cisco just announced that the MOL Group will deploy Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) technology to help run its 3D remote visualization infrastructure. Cisco UCS will support the MOL Group's new geoscience application called Landmark DecisionSpace Geosciences 10ep (DSG), a way to map and model oil and gas found beneath the earth's surface.

Cisco UCS will provide data center and network capabilities for DSG, allowing the project to have seamless team collaboration, data management, and user experiences. This includes building a new 3D remote visualization infrastructure and creating high quality 3D outputs.

Cisco helps explore the intricacies of the Earth's surface and like NASA, is also fascinated in Mars. The Cisco Mars Network Challenge is a game engineers can play to create a sustainable human presence on Mars using Cisco's intent-based network. Click here to learn more and join in on the fun.

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