by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 9, 2016
The launch of a robot that will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars has been rescheduled for May 5, 2018, US space agency NASA said Wednesday.
The InSight lander was originally set to launch this month but that had to be scrapped because of a problem with a seismometer provided by France's space agency CNES.
InSight's primary goal is to study how the solar system's rocky planets, including Earth, formed and evolved.
It will help determine whether the core of the red planet is solid or liquid, and why its surface is not made of moving tectonic plates like Earth.
"The quest to understand the interior of Mars has been a longstanding goal of planetary scientists for decades. We're excited to be back on the path for a launch, now in 2018," John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a statement.
Launch dates are based on relative positions of the planets and favorable conditions for missions from Earth to Mars are available a few weeks every 26 months, NASA has said.
The robot is now expected to arrive on Mars on November 26, 2018.
The delay stemmed from a leak affecting the seismometer device, which measures ground movements as small as the diameter of an atom.
It requires a vacuum seal around its three main sensors to withstand the harsh conditions of the Martian environment.
Officials were studying the cost of the two-year delay, with an estimate expected in August.
The total cost of the mission was budgeted at $675 million, of which $525 million had been spent by December 2015, according to NASA.
NASA is currently working on three Mars missions with the European Space Agency and plans to send another rover to Mars in 2020.
A manned mission to Mars is set for the 2030s.
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|