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NASA's InSight Mars Lander tries to start digging, but hits



Hammer time

NASA Mars Insight Mars has been prepared with a number of instruments to explore the interior of the red planet.

One of them is a heat flow probe built by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to bury itself in the surface of Mars in the manner of a mole in order to take the temperature of Mars. The data collected could give us new clues about the formation of the neighbor of the Earth.

But InSight had a setback: orders from Earth did not reach Mars in time for the planned deployment for "unknown technical reasons," according to a statement released yesterday. InSight will therefore have to delay the deployment of the two-day thermal probe from Earth as a result.

– DLR – English (@DLR_en) February 26, 2019

Heat flux

The thermal probe, called the heat flux and physical properties probe (HP3), is intended to sink into the first five meters (5 meters) of the Martian surface – if all goes as expected – to measure the heat coming out of the planet. According to NASA, this is deeper than any other scientific instrument made by humans on Mars.

Other instruments on board are built to measure gravitational movement, seismic activity and the magnitude of Mars movement when it revolves around the Sun.

But nothing guarantees that the mission of the thermal probe will proceed without additional complications. There is always the major risk of hitting an impenetrable rock – which would end the thermal probe until it installs a new dig site.

"Although we have tested the mole thoroughly and diligently, there is uncertainty," said Tilman Spohn, chief engineer of the mission, in an article in the DLR blog. "This has never been done before on Mars or on another terrestrial planet."

READ MORE: The "Mole" robot on Mars begins digging the red planet this week[[[[Space.com]

More on InSight: A world first: listen to the sounds of Mars


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