Blue skies on Mars. That’s a new one. -Total Recall, 1986
NASA is calling off its next mission to Mars because there isn’t enough time to fix a leaky seal on a key science instrument.
The InSight spacecraft was set for launch in March.
The problem is in a seal around the lander’s seismometer, which was designed to measure ground movement on the red planet.
NASA managers and French designers of the instrument said on Tuesday they must now decide whether the leak in the vacuum-sealed connector needs to be repaired, redesigned or the mission scrapped.
The next opportunity to launch the InSight lander is in May 2018 since the best chances of launching missions between Earth and Mars occur for just a few weeks every 26 months.
“We’re close enough to launch but, unfortunately, we don’t have enough time to try to identify the leak, fix…
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