Next mission to Mars cancelled?

What happens when the lander’s seismometer breaks? You have to wait years to take off into space and make your way to Mars.

This coming March, the newest InSight spacecraft was supposed to be taking off and reaching the red planet nearly six months from now. The mission was to explore Mars like it never has before; inside its core, mantle, and crust. The goal was to to gain knowledge of these items, much like we know about Earth’s insides. Besides the planet that we live on, no other planet has been explored in such a way before. That’s why this mission to go to Mars is critical.

“Why not just fix the seismometer and send it off?” Well, as most science is, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

NASA's InSight Mars lander spacecraft in a Lockheed Martin clean room near Denver. As part of a series of deployment tests, the spacecraft was commanded to deploy its solar arrays in the clean room to test and verify the exact process that it will use on the surface of Mars.

The number one thing to factor in is Earth’s orbit as well as Mars’. So March is the next best opportunity to send off the spacecraft. If that window is to be missed, May of 2018 is the next best bet we have to launching and landing successfully.

“We’re close enough to launch but unfortunately we don’t have enough time to try to identify the leak, fix it and recover and still make it to the launch pad in March,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s science mission chief. (direct quote from SFGate)

Unfortunately, it is estimated to take ages to come up with the next step: how to move on from here, what direction to take, and finding out what exactly is wrong with the rover.

And just like that, ladies and gentlemen, our next step to finding out the mystery behind the red planet has been delayed and called off. But not to worry, other mission regarding Mars are still a go, until further notice!

( Source : SFGate // Picture Source: NASA )

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