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NASA salvages Mars mission that should have launched by now

09 March 2016, 21:37

Florida - NASA's next Mars mission is still alive.

The space agency said Wednesday it's shooting for a 2018 launch of the Mars Insight spacecraft. The robotic lander was supposed to lift off this month, but was grounded in December by a leak in a French instrument. Managers say the instrument should be redesigned in time.

May 2018 represents the next available launch window. Mars windows arise just every two years.

Also read: US commander in Africa says Libya is a 'failed state'

InSight aims to study the interior of Mars. The sensors for the French seismometer need to operate in a vacuum chamber in order to measure subtle ground movements. The vacuum chamber was leaking.

It's unknown how much the two-year delay will cost. NASA's only other option was to kill the project.

Europe is launching its own Mars-landing mission Monday from Kazakhstan.

- AP


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