Now that the thermal probe is just below the surface of Mars, InSight’s arm will dig out some extra soil at the top to help it continue digging, so that it can Marstemperature.
NASAThe InSight lander continues to work hard to obtain its “mole” (16 inches long (40 cm long) pile driver and thermal probe) deep on the surface of Mars. The camera on the InSight arm recently took an image of the now partially filled “mole hole”, only showing the device’s scientific tether protruding from the ground.
Sensors embedded in the tether are designed to measure the heat flowing out of the planet once the mole is dug out at least 10 feet (3 meters) deep. The mission team has been working hard to help the mole’s cave reach at least that depth so that it can withstand the temperature of Mars.
The rat’s design allows loose soil to flow around it, thereby providing friction for its outer hull, allowing it to dig deeper. Without this friction, the mole rat will rebound when it hits the ground. But the soil that InSight landed on was different from the previous mission: during the hammering, the soil would stick together, forming small pits around the equipment instead of collapsing around the equipment and providing the necessary friction.
Last year when the mouse was unexpected, the mole accidentally exited the pit area, and then the team put a small shovel on top of the lander’s robotic arm to fix it on the ground. Now that the mole is completely buried in the soil, they will use a shovel to scrape off other soil on top of it and tamped it on the soil to provide greater friction. As it takes several months to accumulate enough soil, it is expected that the rat will not be able to return to hammering until early 2021.
Troy Hudson, a scientist and engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: “I’m glad we were able to recover from the unexpected’pop-up’ incident we experienced and make the mole deeper than ever before.” “But we are not done yet. We want to make sure that there is enough soil above the mole to enable it to dig on its own without any help from an arm.”
The mole is officially called heat flow and physical properties packaging or HP3, Built by the German Space Agency (DLR) and provided to NASA. Joint police Leading the InSight mission in Southern California. Learn more about the latest developments in moles on this DLR blog.
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JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Agency. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, which is managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Aerospace in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise platform and lander, and supported the mission of the spacecraft.
Many European partners, including the French National Center for Space Research (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. The principal investigator of CNES and IPGP (Paris Institute of Geophysics) provided NASA with SEIS instruments. IPGP contributed a lot of funds to SEIS; Max Planck Institute for Solar Energy Systems (MPS) in Germany; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland; Imperial College London Oxford University in the United Kingdom; and JPL. DLR provides heat flow and physical properties package (HP3) Instruments, made by the Center for Space Research (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika of Poland. The Center for Astronomy and Biology (CAB) in Spain provided temperature and wind sensors.