Successful landing of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on the red planet Mars on 5 August is a breakthrough. Now, just after two weeks of that successful and safe landing of Curiosity on Mars, the US space agency NASA has announced on this Monday (20 August) that it will send another mission to Mars in 2016.
After Curiosity’s overcoming of “Seven Minutes of Terror” and getting the hi-resolution image of Mars surface, NASA has decided to deploy a robot drill to Mars in 2016. The name of this robot is InSight. It’ll drill into the Mars’ crust to discover more about its interior. The estimated cost of building the InSIGHT is $425 million (£270m or €345m). Like the $2.5 billion (£1.6bn or €2bn) cost Curiosity, InSIGHT will also be developed, assembled and operated by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology. In addition, JPL will provide two cameras and a robotic arm on InSight.
The fact is, after landing on the Martian surface, InSight will not wander on the surface like Curiosity; rather it’ll drill a particular spot. “The Mole”, a German-built drill will pound 30 feet into the Martian crust to take the temperature of the planet. On the other side, a sensitive French-built seismometer will be engaged in detecting Marsquakes. As the red planet Mars has no magnetic field to shield its surface from radiation like Earth, so the instruments will provide vital clues about how Mars is created.
If everything goes according to the plan, then InSight will land on the Martian surface in September 2016.