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It Is Approved: NASA’s Next Mission To Mars Will Launch In 2018

In 2015, we heard the stunning news that NASA’s InSight Lander (NIL), a mission to analyze the insides of Mars, had been postponed from launching in March 2016 due to an error or a mistake. But now hear some good news: NASA has given the green signal for the mission to launch in May 2018, among some concerns that the mission could be canceled after the interruption. The reviewed timeline will see the mission launch no before than May 5, 2018, arriving at Mars nearly seven months later on November 26.

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport) is an immobile lander that will drill 5 m (16 feet) underneath the surface to calculate the temperature of Mars and study the sub-surface section. This will increase and also change our thinking not only of Mars but also in what way other rocky planets form and change, as well. The mission was firstly delayed when a vacuum leakage was found in one of its appliances, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure(SEIS), which will identify signals from mars quakes, meteorite effects, and even more local events like landslides and dust storms. The leakage meant that the instrument would have been unusable on Mars, leaving no choice for NASA but to delay the launch.

Geoff Yoder said, serving associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, in a statement, "It is satisfying that we are moving forward with this main mission to help us better understand the roots of Mars and all the rocky planets, counting Earth."

Launches to Mars only happen in particular windows when the planets line up for a shorter voyage, which occurs approximately every 26 months, which is why NASA had to delay the mission for such a long time. But, gratefully, this fresh launch date has been approved. And it might turn become a busy year for Mars, with SpaceX also preparing a mission, though their new rocket mishap may make difficulties. NASA did know, though, that the InSight postponement could disturb other missions. The original budget for the mission was $675 million, but this delay will increase to $828.8 million, which may lead to fewer chances for new missions up to 2020. However, it is a good news for growing our understanding of Mars. With one more NASA rover planned in 2020, along with the European-built ExoMars rover, we will confidently know a lot more about the Red Planet by the end of the decade.



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