NASA Will Not Be Launching InSight To Mars in 2016

Keith's 10:15 am note: NASA sources report that NASA SMD has decided to cancel the launch of Mars InSight in 2016 due to problems with the French seismometer. There is a design flaw in the instrument - one that prevents it from being able to maintain the vacuum needed to operate on the surface of Mars - or for that capability to be adequately tested prior to launch so as to assure that the instrument will operate. Without being able to certify that this instrument works there is not much point in launching. CNES has been trying to get this instrument to work for most of 2015 to no avail. NASA is not pleased.

You can listen to the press briefing at

NASA Suspends 2016 Launch of InSight Mission to Mars

"After thorough examination, NASA managers have decided to call off the planned March 2016 launch of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission. The decision follows unsuccessful attempts to repair a leak in a section of the prime instrument in the science payload."

NASA delays Mars InSight mission, Science

"We're all just pretty disappointed right now. Devastated would be a better word," says Lisa Pratt, a biogeochemist at Indiana University in Bloomington and chairwoman of a Mars advisory committee for NASA. "Everyone has been waiting to get a seismic instrument on Mars after Viking."

NASA cancels March launch to Mars, Nature

"NASA chose InSight over two other finalists in the Discovery class, a competition of planetary missions costing no more than US$425 million: a boat that would have sailed on the lakes of Titan, and a probe that would have hopped repeatedly across the surface of a comet's nucleus. InSight's delay may change scheduling of other NASA missions, says Elkins-Tanton, who leads one mission proposal, to the metallic asteroid Psyche, which is competing to be the Discovery mission to launch in the series after InSight."

- NASA Mars InSight Team Addressing Vacuum Leak on Key Science Instrument
- Mars InSight Spacecraft Shipped to California for March Launch, earlier post
- Payload Problems May Delay Mars InSight Launch (Update), earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 22, 2015 5:28 PM.

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