NASA delays Mars probe launch

InSight (an acronym for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) was being prepared for launch between March 4 and March 10, 2016, before the fault was detected, and scheduled to land on Mars six months later to begin its mission.

A US science satellite slated to launch to Mars in March has been grounded due to a leak in a key research instrument, NASA said on Tuesday, creating uncertainty about the future of a widely anticipated effort to study the interior of the planet.

NASA is suspending the next planned mission to Mars because of a faulty seismometer, which measures ground movements.

A leak occurred earlier this year that had prevented the seismometer from retaining vacuum conditions. This was repaired and the instrument was declared fit for flight, but when it was tested on Monday in extreme cold reaching minus 49º F (-45º C), the seal failed again.

The uncrewed Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is the next space flight of Orion that will be launched into a distant retrograde orbit around the moon in 2018.

"A decision on a path forward will be made in the coming months, but one thing is clear: NASA remains fully committed to the scientific discovery and exploration of Mars", he said in the statement. The spacecraft will now probably be sent back to Lockheed Martin in Denver and put into storage.

The expense for that perception objective, including information and start evaluation, are assigned at $675 million, up from a preliminary $425 million, NASA Planetary Sciences Division Representative Jim Green told journalists.

The InSight stationary lander is based on NASA's Phoenix lander, which set down at the Martian North Pole in 2008, and is designed for a 720-day primary mission near the Martian equator.

While the InSight mission is important, Grunsfeld said the suspension "doesn't affect the sequence of any other missions" or NASA's commitment to exploring the Red Planet.

Missions to the Red Planet typically don't lift off except within a small window wherein the orbits of Earth and Mars align closely enough so that the trip is "economically feasible", the Verge reported.

Space Center Houston has been selected to display the artifacts, which will provide people with an opportunity to have a glimpse of NASA's "Journey to Mars" project.

A circular depression on the surface of Mars is pictured in his image acquired on January 5, 2015 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), provided by NASA.

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