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InSight spaceships will soon look deep into the interior of Mars



"That's been my dream for almost 30 years," says Banerdt.

In the 1970s, he was at the Graduate School when NASA's Viking Landers attempted to collect seismic data from Mars on this data to reveal the thickness of the Martian crust. Unfortunately, Viking's seismic results were not useful – the seismometer was not placed on the surface of the planet, making its data too loud.

Since then, Banerdt has submitted more than half a dozen mission proposals, hoping to get new data for Viking's weak scientific investigations. InSight was his dream project, but Banert's dream almost did not come true.

In December 2015, the InSight team discovered a tiny leak in the seismometer's vacuum system from a crack just one nanometer in diameter. "If you have this leak on your tire, it would take you 50 years to lose a psi on your tire," says Banerdt. Unfortunately, it was enough to ruin the precision of the measurements the team had planned, and ultimately to delay the mission.

"It was a heavy pill to swallow," says Banerdt. He was worried that NASA would tell him he had his chance and blew them up. But he and the team persisted, suggesting what the repair would require, and showed that they could effectively redesign the instrument, "and that we would not leave them at the altar again."

Ultimately, they convinced NASA They had the problem in hand, and the science was convincing enough to continue the mission. NASA went to Congress for a special permit to increase mission costs by $ 1

50 million.

Banerdt and the team used the additional design time. Instead of repairing the leak, the vacuum system has been completely redesigned. They also took the opportunity to reassess other parts of the country, especially those that had raised questions in other missions.
"By 2018, we actually have a much stronger mission than 2016," says Banerdt.


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