An artist's rendering of the twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft flying over Mars with Earth in the distance. The MarCOs will be the first CubeSats -- a kind of modular, mini-satellite -- flown in deep space. 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.