NASA Pulls the Plug on the Martian Mole

NASA Pulls the Plug on the Martian Mole

The heat flow and physical property package (HP3) aka “mole” has stopped digging and this is the last time. NASA’s Lander Insight critical equipment had problems since the mission began, and about two years later, the team decided to pull the plug. The material was a self-hammer probe designed to penetrate deep into Martian soil. The goal was to study the interior temperature of the Red Planet once after digging at least three meters (10 feet). However, it never drilled anything longer than its length, which stands at 40 centimeters (16 inches).

The design of the mall was based on previous research on Martian soil from many robotic missions that visited the planet. The soil beneath Insight is like no other on the planet and scientists only discovered it after they started digging. Instead of crawling around the probe, it becomes drowsy, which provides a solid barrier to overcoming the sesame. From February 2019, when the first attempt was made, the team had to be creative with Lander’s robotic arm to help the team dig deeper. It recently got completely ground, with the expectation that it might eventually break down.

On January 9, the robotic arm was used to push the sesame into more soil and press on it to provide friction. Mole handles 500 hammer strokes. But unfortunately, it didn’t go any deeper. The team decided that there was no solution other than to stop trying to dig up the sesame.

HP3’s principal investigator, Tilman Spohn of DLR, said in a statement, “We gave it what we got, but Mars and our heroic sesame are incompatible.” “Fortunately, we’ve learned a lot that will benefit future missions that try to dig into the subcontinent.”

It is a great pity that mole has not been able to carry out his scientific mission, but do not think that this is a story of defeat. This is the story of innovation. Devices like this have never been before; it was a completely new way to study an alien world. It will be influential in addition to scientific information. The will of the mole is already being employed. In the last 23 months, a team of engineers has seen the ability of Lander’s robotic arms to limit range. This hard-earned experience will be employed to use the arm to completely bury the teaser between Insight and its seismometer, which has already recorded 480 marsquakes. This will improve data quality during Insight’s extended mission.