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.
Persistent problems with a seismometer instrument package will keep NASA’s InSight Mars lander from departing for the red planet during a March launch period, and officials said they will consider shelving the $675 million project if the issues prove too costly to fix.
The final flight of Space Shuttle Discovery seen from the ET-Cam mounted near the top of its fuel tank. Mission STS-133 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on February 24, 2011. (Membership required)