An artist's rendering of NASA's twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft as they fly through deep space.

An artist's rendering of the twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft as they fly through deep space. The MarCOs will be the first CubeSats -- a kind of modular, mini-satellite -- attempting to fly to another planet. They're designed to fly along behind NASA's InSight lander on its cruise to Mars. If they make the journey, they will test a relay of data about InSight's entry, descent and landing back to Earth. Though InSight's mission will not depend on the success of the MarCOs, they will be a test of how CubeSats can be used in deep space.

The MarCO and InSight projects are managed for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, by JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

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