An artist's rendering of NASA's twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft flying over Mars with Earth in the distance.

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.

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