NASA has some severe critics, and now they have the chance once again to mock the notorious space agency. It’s been almost a year since the InSight robot reached planet Mars to explore its interior, but all that it has been doing was to provide astronomers with a few images and weather reports from the Red Planet.
InSight was designed to dig 16ft into the surface of Mars to find out how heat escapes the interior of the planet, but in 8 months it managed to dig only 14 inches. InSight’s heat probe seems to be unable to keep its footing into place, and all that it has been doing was simply to bounce around.
NASA tries to solve the embarrassing situation
Sue Smrekar, InSight deputy principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told CNN the following: ‘We’re going to try pressing the side of the scoop against the mole, pinning it to the wall of its hole,” He also added: ‘This might increase friction enough to keep it moving forward when mole hammering resumes.’
Officials of NASA try to excuse themselves and the week performance of the InSight robot by invoking the fact that the surface encountered is much thicker than what they expected.
Tilman Spohn, the main investigator of the experiment, said “All we know about the soil is what we can see in images InSight sends us,” He added: “Since we can’t bring the soil to the mole, maybe we can bring the mole to the soil by pinning it in the hole.”.
Besides the heat probe used for drills, InSight is also equipped with a seismometer (for studying seismic waves) and radio antennas (to see how the deep interior structure affects the planet’s motion around the Sun).
Even if the InSight robot will fail to complete its mission, NASA still has plenty of projects to be proud of. The astronomers from the space agency have all the reasons to believe that they will put humans on Mars in several years and maybe even build a civilization there in a few decades or centuries.