NASA calls off next Mars mission because of instrument leak


The InSight lander was to have launched in March and studied the interior structure and geological processes on Mars, including Martian tectonic activity. It wasn't immediately clear whether NASA had canceled the mission entirely or would delay it until 2018.

"The mission team was hopeful the most recent fix also would be successful".

It is a seismometer called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), which the French Space Agency (CNES) provides.

However, the space agency stated that the cancellation of InSight mission would not affect other Mars missions.

SEIS provided data to address was one of the top science goals of the mission. And if it wasn't ready, the mission wasn't ready. The other one was a German-made thermometer that would be sent down a small bored hole to monitor the temperature of Mars.

The total cost of Discovery missions are capped.

Scientists have high hopes for the probe, expecting it to tell them how Mars is cooling, whether the core of Mars is solid or liquid like Earth's, and why Mars' crust is not divided into tectonic plates that drift like they do on Earth.

About $525 million of the mission's $675 million budget has been spent.

That is, if the InSight mission is able to proceed.

After debuting at South by Southwest, the Mars 2030 Experience will be available for free for the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard and Samsung VR, allowing any old chum to see what it's like to step foot on the Martian surface.

But don't panic yet.

For InSight, the 2016 launch window existed from March 4 to March 30. As most of us know, the three factors mentioned above tend to go hand in hand. Even John Grunsfeld doesn't know the answers yet.

A NASA press conference is scheduled for later today. This problem can still (theoretically) be fixed.

The next opportunity for the mission to launch would be in the May 2018 timeframe.

This will be followed by an as yet unnamed Nasa rover similar to Curiosity but with different instruments in 2020.

Financial limitations might element on whether NASA may continue using the program right into a selection.

The termination raises concerns concerning the potential of the study work because it is likely to be another 26 weeks before Mars and Planet are positively aimed to get a start. ESA will launch to Mars in March with its Trace Gas Orbiter. OnDecember 22, NASA announced that it would suspend the launch. Juno orbits Jupiter in the Summer. Bruce Banerdt, InSight's principal investigator, said that during tests of the instrument, still in France, air was pumped out to a pressure of about 1 ten-millionth of a millibar, or less than 1 billionth of the Earth's atmospheric pressure of about 1,000 millibars.

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