CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. | New lander will add to humans’ long fascination with Mars

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In our solar system family, Mars is Earth’s next-of-kin, the next-door relative that has captivated humans for millennia.

The attraction is sure to grow with Monday’s arrival of a NASA lander named InSight.

InSight should provide our best look yet at Mars’ deep interior. The probe is equipped with a mechanical mole to tunnel underground to measure internal heat. It also has a seismometer to register quakes, meteorite strikes and anything else that might start the red planet shaking.

Scientists consider Mars a tantalizing time capsule because it retains much of its early history. By studying the preserved heart of Mars, InSight could teach us how our solar system’s rocky planets formed 4 1/2 billion years ago and why they turned out so different.

By MARCIA DUNN, Associated Press