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Headshot of Bill Nye - Updated

We're going back to Mars in 2016!

Posted by Bill Nye

20-08-2012 15:57 CDT

Topics: InSight, mission status, Mars

Today, NASA announced the newest Discovery-class mission, a Mars lander called InSight. It's not a rover; it's a drill that will go down 5 meters and help us figure out what happens in the core of our neighboring terrestrial planet. We should all keep in mind that along with the selection of this mission, NASA had to choose not to do two other fantastic missions, one to hop from place to place around a comet, and another that would have gone to Titan and float a boat on its liquid natural gas ocean. How cool would these have been? The price of these "Discovery Class" missions is so low compared to many, many other things that NASA and our government do. It's heartbreaking.

We at the Planetary Society are working to get a microphone on this spacecraft to hear the sounds of Mars at last.

Meanwhile, on to Mars!


NASA / JPL-Caltech

Artist's concept of the InSight lander on Mars.
See other posts from August 2012


Or read more blog entries about: InSight, mission status, Mars


adastragrl: 08/20/2012 04:26 CDT

CHopper = Comet Hopper... it is meant to hop around on one comet, not asteroid to asteroid... that's kind of what Dawn is doing...

Casey Dreier (TPS): 08/20/2012 04:34 CDT

Thanks, @adastragrl, I've updated the post with your correction.

Michael Stat: 08/20/2012 05:14 CDT

I'm excited for InSight, but can't help but feel disappointed that Titan Mare Explorer didn't get selected. Because Earth will set on Titan from 2025-2040, this was the last chance until 2040 for us to land a friggin boat on a lake on Titan, at least on a Discovery level budget. And given that Europa is the highest priority for Outer Planets flagship, that means it will probably be until the 2040s (if we're lucky) until we see images of alien waves, sea foam, and coastlines.

fthurber: 08/21/2012 06:36 CDT

The only way the public has to control politicians is to make them accountable at election time....ahem. Obama has lost my vote. Express your displeasure in November. Endorsing Obama sends the wrong message....

Leonidas: 08/22/2012 04:50 CDT

@fthurber: I really agree with you. Obama has really been a major disappointment! He promised big things and didn't deliver. If I was an American citizen, I wouldn't vote for him also. But the point I want to make is that, as i see it, it is a real tragedy for the US that his opponent, Mitt Romney, seems worse. Not only has the Republican party gone off the rails with their appalling anti-science, pro-religion agenda, but even worse, Romney refuses all this time to unveil a basic space policy. He's so vocal about the economy and Medicare, why so shy about space? Are we to take his word that when he's elected, he'll then consult his advisors to put forward a space program that reflects "american exceptionalism" as he says in his own words? And will he fire Mike Griffin, his space advisor, if the latter proposes plans for a moonbase? Cause that's what he said he'll do. Well, there goes american exceptionalism... All in all, my vote would be "none of the above". I find it a real tragedy that the US has to choose between the bad and the worse in this election...

Kristin: 08/23/2012 09:14 CDT

I'm excited about this Mars mission! And at the same time, I'm saddened by the budget. But it will happen and I'm eager to see the outcome!

Dennis Davis: 08/23/2012 09:59 CDT

Mars research is great. At the moment, times are rough and in order to sell a mission you have to make the people giving the money understand why it's important. If it is actually important. Sometimes I feel that reading about another mission looking for water leaves a bad taste in the publics mouth. It's not very impressive and sounds redundant and useless. Most conservatives I know have the mind set of "Why, are we going to the Moon and Mars? There's nothing there". The Republican party doesn't care about science research unless it's going to make a better cell phone to play with. Maybe if someone says they'll build a church on Mars,it may get their interest, It's true that it seems that Obama hasn't gotten too much change done with an entire party of "NO" blocking as many moves as they possibly can but, one things is for sure, if the Republicans get in they'll bury space exploration unless they can turn it into space exploitation for profit. I still feel that a number one priority should be cataloguing Near Earth Astroids and developing the technology to deflect a dangerous one. Laser Bee's is a good start. Be careful who you vote for folks. I'm not too happy either but we could do worse.

Trueartgirl : 08/26/2012 12:27 CDT

You know, there are billions of people in the world....if millions would only give at least a dollar we would have enough to do another mission....who said we need to wait for the government to fork over funding (though they are very very very nice) we really are an amazing species that can accomplish wonders when we work together =D just a thoughts...I'd donate more (maybe I'm being too wishful?)

Michael Fekete: 11/28/2012 07:35 CST

I'm really disappointed that we are not going to do the Titan Mare Explorer program, especially after the discoveries made in Antarctica recently. It's obvious that this will not happen until 2040, by then I sure hope we as a human race have evolved as single race. It does remind me of the water world from Lexx though:)

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