The U.S. space agency has announced it will send a robot to Mars in 2016 to investigate the red planet’s deep interior.
NASA says the InSight spacecraft will be a relatively low-cost lander carrying instruments that would examine the geology of Mars in depth.
All the data combined will inform researchers about the internal state of Mars today and how it has changed.
Scientists say this will give them a clearer idea of how the rocky planets formed, including the Earth.
InSight is cost-capped at $425 million, although that figure does not include the rocket to launch the spacecraft.
The mission will be run by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL).
The August 20 announcement comes just two weeks after JPL's "Curiosity" rover landed on Mars to explore the planet's surface.
Based on reporting by AP and Reuters