InSight’s Task to Bore Martian Land Obstructed Due to Rocky Surface and Pebbles

InSight’s Task to Bore Martian Land Obstructed Due to Rocky Surface and Pebbles

Science

NASA’s mole on Mars, the InSight lander, started its first test last week. But the initial digging session finished before time. It is the first time the probe faced difficulty while exploring the Martian land. Probably the rocky surface present directly under the Mars Lander obstructed the drilling process. So NASA’s lander probe specially designed to dig up to five meters as measure temperature there, strikes an obstruction. InSight landed on the Red Planet back in November. Since then the probe clicked pics and explored the Red Planet. The lander is capable of digging up to 16 feet and can measure heat coming from the core of the planet.

On 28th February it started to hammer itself into the red soil. The 16-inch long probe part of equipment called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), received about three-fourths of the fixed target before halting. But researchers did not notice any considerable progress after a second round of hammering on Saturday, March 2. The information reveals that the probe is inclined at 15-degree. According to engineers, it may be a rock or gravel. The mole only managed to mine 18-50 centimeters, which is far away from its first dig’s target. The team expected there would be fewer rocks beneath the surface. The lander is capable of pushing small rocks and making its way around them.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) provided the instrument to NASA. Tilman Spohn of DLR and Principal investigator of HP3 stated, the team decided to stop the digging process temporarily. They intend to carefully look into the condition and mutually come up with solutions to overcome the problem. Scientists would delay further hammering process for about two weeks. They are planning to implement thermal conductivity measurements, which will take place the first time on Mars. Researchers will use a radiometer, present in equipment set of InSight, to note transformation in temperature of Mars. But it would be a massive blow to the InSight Lander if the HP3 could not drill through to the precise depth.

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