PASADENA, Calif. (UPI) — NASA says it has signed an agreement with France’s space agency to cooperate on a future NASA Mars lander mission to study the Red Planet’s interior.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the National Center of Space Studies of France, signed an implementing agreement Monday, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Monday.
“This new agreement strengthens the partnership between NASA and CNES in planetary science research, and builds on more than 20 years of cooperation with CNES on Mars exploration,” Bolden said.
Planned for launch in March 2016, the Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport (InSight) mission will study Mars’ deep interior to understand the evolutionary formation of rocky planets, including Earth.
It will measure seismic waves traveling through the interior of Mars to determine its interior structure and composition, which will provide clues about the processes that shaped the planet during its earliest stages of creation.
“The research generated by this collaborative mission will give our agencies more information about the early formation of Mars, which will help us understand more about how Earth evolved,” Bolden said.