NASA calls off next Mars mission

NASA suspends its next Mars mission due to air leak in one of its science instruments

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

This August 2015 artist's rendering provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech depicts the InSight Mars lander studying the interior of Mars

Updated Dec 23, 2015

NASA has called off its next Mars mission because of a leak in a science instrument.

The Insight spacecraft was supposed to take off in March and land on the red planet six months later. But NASA said Tuesday that managers have suspended the launch because of an air leak in one of two prime science instruments, a seismometer which belongs to the French Space Agency. It was supposed to ship to the Southern California launch site next month. NASA said attempts to fix the leak have failed.

The lander is designed to examine the geology of Mars in depth.

Launch opportunities for Mars only occur every two years. It wasn't immediately clear whether NASA had cancelled the mission entirely or would delay it until 2018.