InSight, the new NASA mission to Mars
After the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars a few weeks ago and the reception of the first images sent by the rover-laboratory, NASA announced that it will continue to work on the Red Planet and has presented a new mission to be held in the year 2016 with the goal of completing field surveys in the planet’s surface.
The enormous attention from the media and aroused public opinion Curiosity mission, the care with which they continued the landing and expectation caused by the reception of the first images sent by the mission, have served for NASA to gain momentum and continue the exploration of Mars, and with that idea, prepare a new mission that serves to learn even more about this planet:
The successful landing of the vehicle Curiosity has relaunched the public interest in Space Exploration and today’s announcement makes it quite clear that many more will come to Mars exploration missions
The mission, called InSight, will aim to bring to the surface of Mars instruments to study the planet’s composition, surface and drill core discern whether it is solid or liquid as if the magma core of Earth. Moreover, another aspect to find out will be to give an answer to why the Martian crust is composed of tectonic plates like the Earth, which will allow researchers to learn how the planets formed and developed similar characteristics to Earth.
The exploration of Mars is a high priority issue for NASA and InSight ensures mission continue shedding light on the mysteries of the Red Planet and pave the way for a future manned mission
This mission will be the 12th of the Discovery class , a series of missions that began in 1992 with the idea of saving costs and reuse technology developments and other missions (often linked to the survey). Indeed, given the tight budget of NASA, a mission that is not going to make a big investment is a positive side to give the green light but, even so, will cost $425 million (a small amount compared with the 2,500 million dollars it has cost the construction of Curiosity). The budget will be used to build a ship that will land on Mars accompanied by four main instruments: a device for determining the rotation axis of Mars, a robot arm with a couple of cameras and a thermal probe to the surface to be drilled field for measurements.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena (California) will be responsible for directing the program in cooperation with various universities, government agencies and the U.S. aerospace industry. Furthermore, the French Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center will also participate in the mission by providing equipment and instruments for the craft is expected to land on Mars in September 2016.
Image: NASATags: InSight, Mars, mission, NASA, Space Exploration