Wednesday 7 December 2016

Nasa axes next mission to Mars

Published 22/12/2015 | 17:01

The Mars mission had been scheduled to take off in March (University of Pennsylvania/PA Wire)
The Mars mission had been scheduled to take off in March (University of Pennsylvania/PA Wire)

Nasa has called off its next Mars mission because of a leak in a science instrument.

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The Insight spacecraft was supposed to take off in March and land on the red planet later in the year.

But Nasa said managers have suspended the launch because of an air leak in one of two prime science instruments, a seismometer which belongs to the French Space Agency.

It was supposed to ship to the southern California launch site next month. Nasa said attempts to fix the leak have failed.

The lander is designed to examine the geology of Mars in depth.

Launch opportunities for Mars only occur every two years. It is not clear whether Nasa has cancelled the mission entirely or delayed it until 2018.

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