• NASA's Insight Mars Mission

NASA's Insight Mars Mission (Photo : www.space.com)

NASA's Insight Mars mission is leaning toward a smooth patch of terrain as the landing site for the next Red Planet robotic exploration.  The location is just north of the Martian equator about 4 degrees north latitude and 136 degrees east longitude, according to Space.com.

Like Us on Facebook

"This is wondrous terrain, exactly what we want to land on because it is smooth, flat, with very few rocks in the highest-resolution images," Matt Golombek, InSight's site-selection leader, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

It is the best candidate as the landing site for NASA's InSight Mars Lander exploration which is schedules to take-off on March 2016 and to arrive at the Red Planet by September of the same year.

The expected data to be collected by the $425 million InSight mission should reveal the size of Mars' core, and whether it's liquid or solid, disclosed NASA officials. The launch window runs from March 4 through March 30, Topix reported.

InSight is short term for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.  As it touched down the Red Planet, the lander will be using different types of science instrument to study the planet's crust, mantle, and its core. This is an attempt to study and understand how rocky planets actually take shape and evolve.

The InSight lander was based heavily on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. Its heat-flow probe feature will hammer itself up to 16.5 feet or 5 meters below the Red Planet's surface. Another factor to be considered in finding and selecting the best landing site is the ground that is soft enough for the probe to burrow deep as necessary.

The site currently being evaluated is one of four finalists selected in 2014. All four locations lie in a flat Martian region called Elysium Planitia. All four sites have a landing ellipse that measures about 81 miles (130 kilometers) long by 17 miles (27 km) wide.