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NASA Mars drill to examine the planet's core in 2016

NASA Mars drill to examine why the planet went down such a different evolutionary path than Earth did.

Mars nasa panorama 120709Enlarge
Part of the Mars panorama released by NASA that combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. (NASA/Courtesy)

NASA wants to get a look at Mars' core and figure out why the Red Planet is so different from Earth.

The agency announced plans Monday to launch a robotic drill in 2016 that will drill into the crust of Mars in an effort to find out why it took such a different evolutionary path than its neighbor.

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NASA's Discovery program picked a Mars flight called InSight over two other proposals costing no more than $425 million, The Associated Press reported.

The new mission will attempt to determine whether the core of Mars is liquid or solid, and why the Red Planet's crust does not appear to be composed of drifting tectonic plates like that on Earth, according to Space.com.

More from GlobalPost: NASA releases high-quality Mars panorama

The mission will be run by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

That same lab is currently running the $2.5 billion Mars Curiosity rover mission. The rover landed successfully on the Red Planet earlier this month and is starting to explore the martian surface, sending back stunning pictures and panoramas.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120820/nasa-mars-drill-examine-the-planets-core-2016