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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Seeing InSight

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

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.

What's Up in Solar System Exploration in 2018

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

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.

Detecting Dust Devils with Insight

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

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.

Mars Plans Advance (and Occasionally Fade)

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.

InSight assembly begins

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

A Checkup on Future Mars Missions

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.

Mars Program Update from MEPAG

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).

NASA Selects InSight Mars 2016 Lander

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.

A Bittersweet Day for Planetary Exploration

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.

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