U.S. and France Cooperate on Mars Mission

     (CN) - The French space program signed an agreement with NASA to cooperate on a 2016 Mars landing to study the geology of the Red Planet.
     NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Jean-Yves Le Gall, the president of the French National Center of Space Studies (CNES), signed an agreement to cooperate on a Mars lander mission.
     Planned for 2016, the mission will study the planet's geological evolution and look for tectonic activity and meteorite impacts, NASA said in a statement.
     "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. "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."
     The mission is called the Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport, or InSight.
     Such names are believed to help win public support and congressional funding.
     The InSight mission will use a CNES instrument to measure seismic waves.
     The InSight mission will include a team of scientists from 11 countries, including Germany, Japan, Spain and Poland.
     Mars is called the Red Planet because it actually is red, not because it is now or ever has been a member of the Communist Party.