back to article NASA gets funding for Mars InSight mission in 2016

Fresh from the ongoing success of the Curiosity rover, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has awarded funding for its next Mars mission, InSight, which will drill down under the Martian surface to try and understand its geology. InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) will be a …


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  1. Alex in Tokyo

    Anyone else...

    think that that acronym is a bit of a stretch even for NASA?

    1. Redbaron

      Re: Anyone else...

      Yup, also isn't "Geodesy" specific to the rock we're currently on? I know Geology becomes Selenology when applied to the moon, so Mardesy perhaps?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anyone else...

        Pedants refer to Martian geology as areology.

    2. Osgard Leach

      Re: Anyone else...

      Well they've come a long way from the early days of Gemini, (German Engineers, MoNkeys, Ignition!), good luck to them.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Impressively deep and *fast*

    16 feet is a *long* way into the surface of *any* planet that probes have visited. By space mission standards Sept 2016 is a quick programme.

    Exciting but always remember that NASA is funded on a *yearly* basis (like councils in the UK).

    Thumbs up for a clever piece of work.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Impressively deep and *fast*

      16 feet is a *long* way into the surface of *any* planet that probes have visited.

      It certainly is, and good luck to them, but can anyone really infer anything about the temperature of Mars' core from that?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impressively deep and *fast*

        'but can anyone really infer anything about the temperature of Mars' core from that?'

        It is fairly shallow, but doable. Land-based heat flow measurements here on Earth are usually done below 200-300m to screen out surface effects. Most marine heat flow measurements are taken at around 5m below the surface. The huge amount of water on top helps even out any surface effects.

        Some work has been done on modelling heat flows on Mars and whilst this mission's results will be affected by seasonal changes in heat flowing from the Sun, the effects are both minor and can be factored out over a prolonged period of study. There's some detail here:

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Hmm, seismic stuff

    Tremble, ye Martians

    Sorry, couldn't resist

  4. cs94njw
    Thumb Down


    Curiosity is there to explore the surface and have a decent look around.

    Surely mission 2 is to deploy some habitation tents?

    1. Mike VandeVelde

      I always thought that with all the billions of dollars worth of gear that we are piling up around the solar system, that someone should be having a think about how possible it is that any of it is / could be useful for when there are eventually boots on the ground. A wound down Curiosity could be retrieved and stripped of scientific instruments and used for a dune buggy and / or to ferry supplies around. How many square meters of solar panels are lying around waiting to be dusted off and hooked to something useful? Maybe this drill could be used to bore wells for drinking water (if there is ice under there)? If there are any minor modifications that could be made to the tools we are sending there to make them more useful as ingredients for future human assembled what nots for the colony, and possibly save on what needs to be shipped along with those humans, well I hope someone is considering that kind of thing. Just a thought, it's all awesome anyway :-)

      ps Unless these things are meant to end up as some sort of heritage sites? Would anyone be offended by recycling the Apollo landers into parts of a moonbase? What if it was China doing it? What are the rules for salvage on the *extremely* high seas? Would those still be considered property of the USA?

  5. JaffaMan


    Hmmm - after rocket crane dropped, laser cannon equipped SUVs this seems a little pedestrian.

    The next mission should surely be actual pedestrians - human feet on Mars!

    If NASA doesn't do it I hope the Chinese do soon!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Pedestrian

      Chances of NASA doing it. Practically zero.

      The US currently spends roughly the NASA budget + 50% on home delivered pizza.

      Chances of a US *company* landing a person on Mars. A bit better.

      Chances of India or China landing someone on Mars. Rather better.

  6. John A Blackley

    Don't kid yerself

    The yanks are looking for oil.

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