The next mission to Mars has been postponed until 2018 due to a leak in one of the key instrumental instruments it was reported by NASA. The INSIGHT will take off on May 5th, 2018 and is expected to land on the planet in November. The aim is to investigate the deep inside of the planet, with the aim of finding out how planets such as Mars and Earth – the rocky planets – were formed and had developed.
It is likely that there is actually flowing water on Mars according to the people involved in the research. Associate administrator for NASA John Grunsfeld feels that the challenges can be met and the fact that the desire to know what is deep inside Mars is a long running one and there is a great deal of excitement now that the date has been reset for the mission.
The reason for the delay is the fact that last December the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure failed and in order to make the next launch go ahead the scientists are going to redesign it. There is a cost implication for this and NASA are assessing the delay – with help from the French national space agency, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales.
Denver-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems both built and went on to test the InSight spacecraft including the cruise stage and the lander. It will stay in Lockheed’s Colorado facility until 2017 when spacecraft preparations begin again.