Washington: Encouraged by the success of “Curiosity”, NASA has announced to launch a new Mars mission in 2016 to take a better look into the guts of the Red Planet.
The mission called “InSight” will investigate why Mars’ crust is not divided into tectonic plates that drift like Earth’s.
Detailed knowledge of the interior of Mars in comparison to Earth will help scientists understand better how terrestrial planets form and evolve, the American space agency said.
“The exploration of Mars is a top priority for NASA, and the selection of ‘InSight’ ensures we will continue to unlock the mysteries of the Red Planet and lay the groundwork for a future human mission there,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden.
“The recent successful landing of the Curiosity rover has galvanised public interest in space exploration and today’s announcement makes clear there are more exciting Mars missions to come,” he said referring to the success of Curiosity.
The 12th selection in NASA’s series of Discovery-class missions, ‘InSight’ is build on spacecraft technology used in the space agency’s highly successful Phoenix lander mission, which was launched to the Red Planet in 2007 and determined water existed near the surface in the Martian polar regions.
“Our Discovery Programme enables scientists to use innovative approaches to answering fundamental questions about our solar system in the lowest cost mission category,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.
“’InSight’ will get to the ‘core’ of the nature of the interior and structure of Mars, well below the observations we’ve been able to make from orbit or the surface,” Grunsfeld said.