DEC 24, 2015 08:23 AM PST

NASA Opts to Delay Mars Mission Until 2018

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 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 14, 2019
Here's Why Pluto Was Demoted to a Dwarf Planet
Pluto was once called a planet in our solar system, but those definitions changed in 2006, and this officially demoted Pluto from a planet to a dwarf plane...
OCT 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 14, 2019
NASA Will Send a Drone to Titan in Search of Alien Life
Researchers have been teasing the concept of sending a life-sniffing drone to Saturn’s moon Titan for what seems like forever, and now, it appears th...
OCT 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 14, 2019
This ISS-Based Experiment Could Benefit Parkinson's Disease Patients
Astronauts on the International Space Station do a whole lot more than spacewalk and glance out the window at the beautiful planet Earth. They also conduct...
OCT 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 14, 2019
Watch SpaceX Fly its Starhopper Prototype 150 Meters in the Air
SpaceX conducted another test flight of its Starhopper prototype starship on Tuesday, this time flying it more than 150 meters in the air. Tuesday’s...
OCT 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 14, 2019
The Universe is So Vast That Even the Speed of Light Seems Insignificant
When astronomers measure the distance between two distant objects in outer space, the term ‘light-year’ gets tossed around somewhat frequently....
OCT 14, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 14, 2019
Woman-Only Spacewalk Will Transpire October 21st, NASA Says
NASA was expected to orchestrate the world’s first all-female spacewalk at the International Space Station earlier this year, but was unfortunately u...
Loading Comments...