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November 15, 2018

Editors and news directors:

Six years after last landing on Mars, NASA is about to put a robotic geologist on the surface of the red planet. The Mars InSight spacecraft will dig deeper than ever before to take the planet’s temperature, make the first measurements of “marsquakes” and track the planet’s wobbly rotation. The $1 billion US-European mission is the first dedicated to studying the innards of Mars. The lander’s touchdown is about 3 p.m. EST Monday, Nov. 26.

Next week, the AP Health & Science team will offer a series of stories previewing the landing by Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn.

Each story will be made available for immediate use.

Tuesday, Nov. 20

MARS LANDING — Mars is about to get the first U.S. visitor surface in years: a three-legged, one-armed geologist designed to dig deep and stake out quakes. NASA’s InSight makes its grand entrance through the rose-tinted Martian skies next Monday. 950 words, photos, video.

Wednesday, Nov. 21

MARS LANDING-FINAL MINUTES — It all comes down to the final six minutes of a six-month journey to Mars. NASA’s InSight spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere at supersonic speed, then hit the brakes to get to a soft, safe landing on the alien red plains. After micromanaging every step of the way, flight controllers will be powerless over what happens at the end of the road, nearly 100 million miles away. 500 words, photo.

Thursday, Nov. 22

MARS LANDING-SIDEKICKS — A pair of tiny experimental satellites trailing NASA’s InSight spacecraft all the way to Mars face their biggest test yet. Their mission: Broadcast immediate news, good or bad, of InSight’s descent and landing at Mars. 500 words, photo.

Friday, Nov. 23

MARS-VISITORS — Mars has a nasty habit of living up to its mythological name and besting Earth when it comes to accepting visitors. NASA’s InSight is the latest spacecraft to come calling, with every intent of landing and venturing deeper into the planet than anything that’s come before. 600 words, photos.

Saturday, Nov. 24  

MARS-CHARM — 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 the arrival of a NASA lander named InSight. 750 words, photo.

Sunday, Nov. 25

MARS LANDING — With just a day to go, NASA’s InSight spacecraft aimed for a bull’s-eye touchdown on the surface of Mars, zooming in like an arrow nearly 100 million miles away. 600 words, photo.

Monday, Nov. 26

MARS LANDING — Spot coverage of NASA’s Insight lander reaching the surface of Mars. Developing from touchdown around 3 p.m. EST. 750 words, photos, video.

The AP

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