InSight, NASA’s next big mission to the Red Planet, is now back on track. The space agency is now looking at a May 5th, 2018 launch window with the landing expected to take place on November 26, 2018. It’s not going to be a manned mission, work is underway to make that possible, but putting humans on Mars is going to take considerably more time than just sending robots.
The mission, Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport or InSight, was previously supposed to launch this month but last December, NASA announced that the mission was being delayed due to a leak in the vacuum enclosure.
InSight will be used for deep interior exploration of the Red Planet, information collected will help scientists develop a greater understanding of how rocky planets are formed. The seismometer on InSight needs to work in a vacuum chamber so that it’s sensitive enough to measure objects that are as small as half the radius of a hydrogen atom.
“The quest to understand the interior of Mars has been a longstanding goal of planetary scientists for decades. We’re excited to be back on the path for a launch, now in 2018,” said John Grunsfeld, an associate administrator at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.