DEC 24, 2015 8:23 AM PST

NASA Opts to Delay Mars Mission Until 2018

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s plans to send a space vehicle to Mars for additional exploration of the red planet’s geology will likely be postponed until 2018 after it was discovered that an instrument aboard the vehicle, a leaky seismometer that needs to be sealed off from the outside world to survive on the harsh conditions of the red planet, would be unable to function as expected.
 

NASA will have to postpone its InSight lander for 2018 after a faulty component was discovered.


Without a proper vacuum-packed seal from the outside world, readings would be inaccurate and it would be a waste of an extremely expensive trip to visit Mars. Scientists have reportedly been aware of the leak since August and have continually tried to repair it with no success, and as a result, have given up trying to repair the faulty unit.
 
NASA is picking 2018 now because that’s the next time that Earth and Mars will be tangoing together close enough in our solar system for a launch to be practical and the seismic measurement device should be ready to go by then. Originally, the plan was to launch some time in the middle of next year.
 
It will also take time for the leaky seismometer, which was made by the French Space Agency (CNES), to be properly repaired and/or replaced for the mission, which means that meeting next year’s deadline would be essentially out of grasp.
 
"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," NASA's John Grunsfeld said in a statement.
 
The vehicle’s intention is to measure specific properties of the red planet that may one day help astronauts on their quest to live there, as NASA would one day like to have accomplished. Such things that the vehicle would monitor include seismic activity, temperature, and the way the planet orbits the Sun.
 
The New York Times reports that the spacecraft, which was intended to take this vehicle to Mars next year, will likely be carted back into storage so that it’s ready when the mission is a go.
 
Source: New York Times

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 13, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 13, 2019
Astronomers Find At Least 20 More Moons Orbiting Saturn
Just this past week, Saturn overtook Jupiter as the planet in our solar system with the highest number of moons. Researchers from the Carnegie Institution...
OCT 31, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 31, 2019
Neutron Star Merger Fused Atomic Nuclei, Spilled Out Heavy Element
It is safe to say that we live in a world of hydrogen and helium, the lightest elements in the periodic table. Born minutes after the Big Bang, the two mak...
DEC 09, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
DEC 09, 2019
Astronauts help to advanced personalized medicine
Extreme temperatures and lethal levels of radiation are just some of the hazards faced by astronauts as they traverse the harsh conditions of space. Additi...
DEC 06, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 06, 2019
The most memorable space events of 2019
This year was one of the most exciting ones for all of the space geeks around the world. Many discoveries and once in a lifetime events happened...
FEB 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 03, 2020
How NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft is Studying Mars' Ionosphere
If you ever listen to the radio and experience a phenomenon in which the broadcast sounds garbled or as if another radio station is attempting to play over...
FEB 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 04, 2020
What Are NASA's 'Great Observatories?'
NASA recently retired its Spitzer Space Telescope, one of four specialized space-based observatories that together made up the American Space Agency’...
Loading Comments...