News

InSight lander’s troubled seismometer passes major test

3 April 2017 Stephen Clark

A balky interplanetary seismic instrument that ran into technical problems in 2015, forcing a two-year delay in the launch of NASA’s InSight lander to Mars, cleared a major test last month after engineers redesigned part of the sensor package, boosting confidence that the mission will be ready to blast off in May 2018.

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Swansong experiment sheds light on Venus’ polar atmosphere

19 April 2016 Astronomy Now

Some of the final results sent back by ESA’s Venus Express before it plummeted down through the planet’s atmosphere have revealed it to be rippling with atmospheric waves and, at an average temperature of -157 °C, colder than anywhere on Earth. The aerobraking experiment has improved our knowledge of our planetary neighbour and holds great promise for ESA’s forthcoming ExoMars mission.

News

Fate of NASA’s InSight Mars mission to be decided soon

8 March 2016 Stephen Clark

NASA is close to deciding whether to spend an extra $150 million to send the InSight lander to Mars in 2018 or cancel the mission after an instrument problem made the spacecraft miss a launch opportunity this year, with a verdict on the project’s future expected within weeks, officials said.