Four semifinalists have made it to the next round in NASA’s hunt for the next Mars landing site, scheduled for a 2016 mission. All four sites are in close proximity to the Elysium Planitia region of the planet. The new mission’s name is Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) and will be a stationary mission dedicated to studying the interior of the red planet. Launching in March 2016, NASA predicts it will land on Mars six months later to begin its study. Originally, 22 sites were considered for the landing, and only four remain.
“We picked four sites that look safest,” geologist Matt Golombek of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California explained in a press release.
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