A NASA space probe destined for Mars took off from California and overcame the crucial first stage of its launch, official sources said.
According to sources, everything now depends on the upper stage of the Atlas V rocket to route the landing module of the probe InSight to the red planet, where it will make unprecedented deep excavations.
The 360-kilogram probe is the 21st number launched by the United States for the exploration of Mars, dating from the first Mariner missions of the 1960s. Other countries have sent nearly two dozen exploration missions to Mars.  Once at its destination InSight, powered by solar energy, will spend two years - or about a Martian year - probing the depths of the planet's interior for clues about how Mars was formed and, therefore, from the origins of the Earth and other rocky planets.
Using InSight instruments, scientists hope to see between a dozen and 100 Martian earthquakes over the course of the mission, which will produce data to help them deduce the depth, density and composition of the core of Mars, the rocky mantle that surrounds it and its most superficial layer, the crust.