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NASA InSight tapped for Mars drilling mission in 2016

Zach Honig

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The surface of Mars? Psh... been there. With the Curiosity stage well under way, our exploration of the Red Planet is about to take a dive beneath the dust. Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport -- InSight, for short -- was just confirmed as a new NASA mission, with the space agency set to launch in March of 2016. Based on the Phoenix lander, the craft is tasked with giving us a peek beneath the planet's surface, armed with tools that include a geodetic instrument from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which will be used to calculate Mars' rotation axis, a seismic wave sensor and a subsurface heat probe, to measure the planet's internal temperature. The program has a $425 million budget -- a bit shy of the $2.5 billion allocated for Curiosity -- not including the costly launch vehicle. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that InSight will help pave the way for future human missions to Mars, and represents just one of the related projects to come. Hit up the source link below for a closer look at JPL's latest endeavor.

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