Equipment failure delays Mars mission

illustration of Mars InSight lander

DELAYED INSIGHT  NASA's InSight spacecraft, illustrated here, was slated to launch in March 2016 and land on Mars six months later to probe the planet's interior. But a faulty instrument forced NASA to postpone the launch for at least two years.


A leaky instrument will push back launch of the Mars InSight lander by at least two years, NASA announced at a news conference December 22. The probe was slated to head to Mars in March 2016 to study the planet’s interior and reveal how terrestrial worlds (like Earth) form. InSight beat out other proposed missions, including one to sail a boat on the seas of Saturn’s moon Titan.

A faulty seismometer that can’t hold its vacuum seal, built by France’s national space agency, dashed hopes of an on-time launch. The next launch window is in 2018 due to the position of Earth and Mars in their orbits. 

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