Mr. Mueller said the capsule’s size and shape would be the same as the one used in the Insight mission. “It’s like using the same kind of heat protection material, the exact same canopy design,” he said. “So we only use what NASA has already analyzed a lot and demonstrated on every mission of this size that has gone to Mars successfully.”
Muller said the probe will be the size of Insight but lighter in weight. The basic configuration will not even include solar panels and will not work for a long time, only until its batteries are exhausted.
Mr. Mueller said Impulse began talking with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, which runs the InSight mission, this year.
However, a spokesperson for JPL said there hasn’t been much work done between the lab and Impulse so far. “It appears we’ve had some initial discussions with Impulse about this,” spokesman Andrew Goode said. “But while they were seeking to meet with us this year, that meeting has yet to take place.”
Through a spokeswoman for agency headquarters, NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Director Eric Ianson said that NASA did not have any direct communications with Impulse and that they had no insight into the details of what the company was looking to do.
Relativity isn’t the only private space company to have announced planetary exploration missions.
In 2020, Rocket Lab said it plans to send A small spacecraft in 2023 will fly close to Venus And drop a probe to see if there are signs of life in the thick atmosphere. She also has NASA modest contract to launch two small craft to Mars As early as 2024. But Rocket Lab already has 25 successful launches of its small Electron rocket, and last month Sent CAPSTONE, another small mission funded by NASA, towards the moon. (It is due to arrive there in November.)
A few years ago, SpaceX also had modest Mars plans, which it later abandoned.
In 2016, the company announced that a copy of Dragon Crew Astronaut Capsule — without any human passengers on board — it was scheduled to travel to the surface of Mars as soon as 2018. In 2017, SpaceX scrapped those plans, called Red Dragon, after changing the capsule’s design to spray in the ocean Instead of using rocket engines to land on the ground. (Water landings do not work on Mars, where there is no flowing water.)
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