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One-of-a-kind replica of a Mars spacecraft on display at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Posted at 10:10 AM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-06 18:59:23-04

DENVER — The Insight Mars Lander — built by Lockheed Martin in Littleton — landed on the surface of Mars two days after Thansksgiving in 2018. As it gathers precious data millions of miles away, an exact replica sits on display inside the Space Odyssey Exhibition Hall at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The unique piece of science is about the size of a small car and has some incredible instruments.

"There is a seismometer on board to look for Mars quakes or when an asteroid or meteorite hits the planet," said space scientist Steve Lee.

Other instruments include a heat flow device which measures how much heat is coming out of the interior. Another instrument measures the wobble of Mars.

"All the previous missions to Mars have studied either the atmosphere or just the surface," Lee said. "This is the first time we've had a mission dedicated specifically to looking inside the planet."

There is only one replica of the Insight Mars Lander and Denver is the first stop on a nationwide tour — which is fitting for Colorado.

"In a way, Colorado has the market cornered when it comes to space exploration with Lockheed Martin and the United Launch Alliance based in Centennial," Lee said.

You can check out the replica Insight Mars Lander at the museum through July.