1:36pm

Tue August 21, 2012
Space

Lockheed To Build NASA's Next Mars Follow Up To Curiosity

Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton has been chosen to build and operate the next Mars Spacecraft.

Called the InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), the 425 million dollar mission will monitor seismic activity called ‘mars quakes’ when it joins the Curiosity Rover in September of 2016. The NASA InSight mission site describes the lander this way:

By using sophisticated geophysical instruments, InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet's "vital signs": Its "pulse" (seismology), "temperature" (heat flow probe), and "reflexes" (precision tracking).

Stu Spath, program manager for the mission says his team is eager to being working on the spacecraft. “You saw from all the interest in Curiosity recently that Mars is still in the forefront of a lot of people’s minds and it’s a fascinating place to go to and we’re excited to be a part of it” said Spath.

Spath says the craft’s landing on Mars will be controlled out of Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Canyon facility and should employ roughly 125 workers when the mission is at its peak.