Launch of NASA’s InSight Mars Lander Delayed for Undefined Period

Launch of NASA’s InSight Mars Lander Delayed for Undefined Period

Constant issues with a seismometer instrument have delayed the launch of the NASA’s InSight Mars lander. The lander was earlier scheduled for a launch in March. Officials said if the issue continues, they might consider shelving the $675 million project.

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is a three-legged lander which is accompanied with several instruments to study interior structure of Mars. According to experts, the right time to launch a spacecraft to Mars comes every 26 months when the planets are in the right positions to make a direct journey possible.

John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s science mission directorate, said, “This is case where alignment of planets matters, and in order to get from Earth to Mars, they’re aligned about every 26 months. So we’re looking at some time in the May 2018 timeframe for the next opportunity”.

Grunsfeld nowhere in his comment mentioned any plans to cancel the mission. NASA presently is not sure about for how much more the delay and repair will cost, or whether it will bust the mission’s cost cap.

NASA has spent about $525 million on InSight till date, according to Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division.

The InSight spacecraft was shipped from Colorado to California on December 16 inside a US Air Force C-17 cargo transport plane. The craft will now be returned to Lockheed Martin’s satellite integration center in Colorado for storage until NASA decides what to do with the InSight mission.


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