NASA calls off next Mars mission because of faulty instrument

NASA calls off next Mars mission because of faulty instrument

NASA said the next mission to Mars has been postponed by nearly two years due to a faulty instrument. The delay means that InSight won’t go off next year. It would need to wait for 26 months until favorable Earth-Mars orbital geometry again for a Mars mission launch.

The InSight lander has 2 primary scientific payloads, including the seismometer and a heat flow instrument, planned by the German Aerospace Agency, for measuring the rate at which the Red Planet is cooling with time.

Last week, InSight reached Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for starting preparations before a launch planned for March 18. The spacecraft’s mission is known as InSight, and is to study the interior of Mars.

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, told reporters that on December 21, when CNES found the latest leak during environmental testing, the French and USA space agencies had no choice but to call off the March launch campaign.

The InSight mission is considered quite important ahead of NASA's planned Mars exploration programme, which includes sending humans to Mars.

Besides, Technical concernsInSight may still get cancelled due to budgetary reasons because InSight is a cost-capped mission in the space agency’s Discovery line of competitively selected missions. Grunsfeld added, “These leaks are big enough that [they] would prevent us from accomplishing the mission”.

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