NASA InSight’s Mole Update: What’s New

NASA's InSight's Mole

NASA’s InSight lander is praised for its continuous work. New data is now available, and everything looks fantastic.

The lander’s camera successfully captured pictures of the now partially filled-in “mole hole,” displaying only the tool’s science rope extruding from the ground. 

Here is what you need to know.

InSight’s Mission Details

InSight’s sensors are developed to examine the heat flowing from the planet, but only after the mole has dug about 3 meters deep. The mission team has been performing many tests to help the mole reach at least that depth—the goal: Mars’ temperature.

It’s a Soil Matter

Also, the mole was developed so that loose soil would encircle it, generating the best friction against its exterior shell to go deeper. If the friction doesn’t exist, the mole will start bouncing. However, the soil where NASA’s lander arrived is way different than previous missions. 

After the mole succeeded in pulling out of the pit while hammering last year, the tiny scoop at the end of the InSight’s robotic arm was put on top of it to maintain it in the ground. 

The mole is now completely installed in the soil, and the team will utilize the scoop to scour extra soil on top of it, also tamping down this soil to help generate more friction. 

It will most likely take months to get enough soil, and the mole is expected to resume hammering next year. 

The mole, also known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), was developed and offered to NASA by the DLR (the German Space Agency). The JPL has a part, too, leading the mission.

 The brave InSight lander is part of an intriguing NASA mission, dubbed Discovery. JPL also operates the lander for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

As for the build process, the Lockheed Martin Space in Denver developed the spacecraft, lander, and the cruise stage.

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