NASA To Begin Construction On 2016 Mars Lander, Dubbed “InSight”

After a Mission Critical Design Review last Friday, NASA has been given approval to begin construction on a new Mars Lander, which is scheduled to launch in March 2016. NASA’s Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, making it the first interplanetary mission to ever be launched from my home state.

The InSight mission will pierce the Martian surface to study its interior and seek to understand how Earth-like planets formed and developed their structured inner layers (core, mantle, and crust). The lander will carry a robotic arm that will deploy surface and burrowing instruments, including a seismometer and magnetometer, as well as wind, pressure, and temperature sensors.


Measurements gathered during the InSight mission will provide supporting information toward NASA’s goal of sending a human mission to Mars in the 2030s.

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Consumer Advertising Lifting Off To The Moon In 2015

The Verge is reporting that Japanese beverage maker Otsuka is planning the first private moon-landing mission in October 2015. The goal of the mission is to place a 1 kilogram canister filled with powdered sports drink and children’s dreams on the moon. Notwithstanding the obvious marketing undertones, the company says it hopes the publicity stunt will inspire young children to become future astronauts and one day travel 380,000 kilometers to the moon to consume the powder.


I think it’s a rather sad (and unfortunately accurate) portrayal of our society that a consumer products company will invest in space exploration for the sake of a marketing stunt, but NASA continues to face budget cuts. With the long-term survival of the human species depending on space exploration and evolving beyond our dependencies on Earth, the distant future is looking bleak.


*Images in this post courtesy of The Verge.

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