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Go Atlas, go Centaur, go InSight!

Emily Lakdawalla • May 05, 2018

NASA’s next Mars mission launched successfully from Vandenberg Air Force Base today!

MarCO: CubeSats to Mars!

Emily Lakdawalla • May 01, 2018

MarCO or Mars Cube One is an experimental mission that is sending two tiny spacecraft along with InSight to Mars. If successful, they will relay real-time telemetry from InSight to Earth during the landing.

Seeing InSight

Emily Lakdawalla • April 10, 2018

Last week, I received a golden ticket that gave me rare access to a sacred space: the cleanroom facility where NASA's next Mars lander, InSight, is undergoing final preparations for launch.

Preview of the InSight Mars launch

Emily Lakdawalla • April 05, 2018

NASA’s next planetary launch is coming up, as soon as May 5, 2018. This post is your one-stop shop for information about InSight’s launch, cruise, and expected mission to Mars.

InSight delivered to Vandenberg launch site

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2018

InSight, NASA's next Mars mission, has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in preparation for a May 5 launch.

What's Up in Solar System Exploration in 2018

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2017

Three launches to the Moon and one each to Mercury and Mars; two arrivals at near-Earth asteroids; and an approach to an encounter with a distant Kuiper belt object are highlights we anticipate in 2018.

InSight has a new launch date: May 5, 2018

Emily Lakdawalla • March 09, 2016

NASA has decided to move forward with the InSight mission after its delay last December, setting a new launch date of May 5, 2018. That will put the landing on Mars on November 26, 2018. In order to launch in two years, one of its two science instruments must be redesigned.

InSight's Problems: Possible Impacts

Van Kane • December 23, 2015

Van Kane details the potential repercussions of the launch delay of InSight Mars lander on the rest of NASA's Discovery mission program.

NASA's Next Mars Mission Delayed for Two Years

Casey Dreier • December 22, 2015

A problem with the French space agency's seismometer instrument will delay NASA's InSight Mars lander by two years.

Detecting Dust Devils with Insight

Ralph Lorenz • November 11, 2015

Planetary scientist and dust devil expert Ralph Lorenz describes how the upcoming Mars InSight lander's sensitive seismometer might be able to detect dust devils.

MarCO: Planetary CubeSats Become Real

Van Kane • July 08, 2015

NASA recently announced the Mars Cube One (MarCO) mission, which will fly two CubeSat spacecraft past Mars as part of its larger InSight Mars mission.

Four mission assembly progress reports: ExoMars TGO, InSight, OSIRIS-REx, and BepiColombo

Emily Lakdawalla • May 28, 2015

2015 has seen few deep-space-craft launches, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year with three launches, followed quickly by a fourth in early 2017. All of the missions under development have reported significant milestones recently.

Mars Plans Advance (and Occasionally Fade)

Van Kane • May 08, 2015

In the last two months, there has been significant news about the European-Russian 2018 mission and about NASA’s 2020 rover. NASA also has announced that it would like to send a new orbiter to the Red Planet in the early 2020s.

Mini mission updates: Dawn in orbit; Curiosity short circuit; Rosetta image release; Hayabusa2 in cruise phase; and more

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2015

Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.

InSight assembly begins

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2014

NASA's next Mars lander is becoming real, now under construction at Lockheed Martin.

A Checkup on Future Mars Missions

Van Kane • June 09, 2014

NASA’s Mars Exploration Analysis Group (MEPAG) recently reviewed plans by Europe, the Japanese, and NASA for future Mars exploration. The prognosis is for another exciting decade of Mars exploration.

First Analysis: the NASA Planetary Science Budget for 2014

Van Kane • April 10, 2013

No mission to Europa, diminished funding for outer planets missions, a small bump to small spacecraft missions, and an increase for asteroid detection are part of the White House's proposal for NASA in 2014.

Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Bruce Betts • October 05, 2012

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

A Bittersweet Day for Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • August 20, 2012

A new Mars mission was announced today, which is cause for celebration. But two other exciting missions where not selected, why? Money, or lack thereof. All we need is a little bit more, and we could be exploring the solar system, not just Mars.

NASA Selects InSight Mars 2016 Lander

Bruce Betts • August 20, 2012

NASA has selected JPL's InSight mission to Mars as its next Discovery mission. The first geophysics mission to Mars, InSight will use a Phoenix-like lander to deploy a seismometer and a heat probe and give us our first detailed insights into the interior of the Red Planet.

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