This is a long road to Insight’s Mall. Insight It landed on Mars in November 2018, almost two years ago. While Lander’s other devices work well and provide scientific information, the mole struggles to penetrate the planet’s surface.
After a lot of hard work and a lot of patience, Mollen succeeded in burying himself into Marion Regoli.
But the drama is not over yet.
The model is a 16-inch long probe that orbits deep into the surface. Its maximum depth is 5 m (16 ft) below the surface, which is the optimal working depth. It can also collect useful scientific information at shallow depths of about 3 m (10 ft). As it is now, there is no depth anywhere in the mole to do any science.
Two years later, it is still deep.
Mol’s real name Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, Or HP3. It is designed to measure the heat coming from the interior of Mars. The tether connected to the Insight lander contains heat sensors along its length. Insight refers to Interior Exploration with Seismic Investigation, Geodesy, and Heat Transport. The thermal transport part of the mission is the job of the mole.
Since deploying the device, it has been experiencing problems. Slowly hammer into the mole and pierce the mole. But that hammer movement depends on the friction between the mole and the sides of its hole. Without that friction, the device jumps out of the hole.
The problem is what to call it duricrust. This is the surface layer that forms in dry areas. Mars is definitely dry. The device prevents the soil from falling into the perimeter of the soil around the mole and avoids the stress required to hammer its way to Mars.
Although Insight was primarily a NASA mission, it was designed and built by Mol DLR (German Aerospace Center). They work with NASA’s JPL, an engineering version of a test bed mole. That’s where they tried to overcome these challenges.
They tried to use the scoop on the end of the Insight’s instrument arm to apply pressure to the sides of the mole in the hope that it would give the required tension. They tried to push it into the mole while carefully avoiding the sensitive tether. They tried to collect the loose material with a scoop and deposit it into the mole hole.
Today, NASA announced that the mole was completely buried in the sewer. It’s a kind of success, but there is still a long way to go. Now that it is buried, the InSight team will continue to extract more soil on top of the device, and will remove it before resuming hammering operations.
But all this takes time.
Troy Hudson, a scientist and engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: To dig the mole. “It simply came to our notice then. We want to make sure there is enough soil on top of the mole to dig on our own without the help of an arm, ”Hudson said. Press release.
The soil takes months to absorb and irrigate. NASA says hammer operations are unlikely to resume until January 2021. Dust build-up on Insight’s solar panels is part of the process. It reduces the power available for the entire mission.
Tillman is the Mole’s Scientific Director at Spone DLR. He is writing Blog About the attempt at mole activity. In today’s October 16, 2020 entry, Spoon talks about the next steps and how they work towards another “free mole test”. The inspection of the free mole is when they allow the mole to rotate below the surface without the aid of a scoop.
“After some discussion of the next steps, we decided to do two parallel scoop movements on Saturday, October 17 (Sol 659),” he wrote.
“After that, a thermal conductivity measurement will be made, which will also give indirect indications of backfilling,” Spoon writes. “Then the filling is pressed to compress the sand and press the mole. Depending on the outcome of the backfilling, further steps to fill the pit will be planned before further hammering and then another free mole test will take place. ”
On the ground, it is easy to use an EZ to penetrate below the surface. But drills are heavier, require a lot of force, and require stability to prevent them from spinning instead of drilling. That is not possible on Mars. A Z comes with a lot of weight and requires more power than a mole. The mole is 1 inch (2.7 cm) in diameter and 16 inches (40 cm) long. It should be as light and small as possible to fit within the confines of the mission.
It is to be hoped that the operation of the mole will eventually reach a depth. In the meantime, Insight’s other devices are working and returning data. Thanks to SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure), Mars Earthquake active desire.
But without the mole and its thermal transport reading, the Insight Lander would never function according to its mission.
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