insight mole update

insight mole update
October 28, 2020

NASA's InSight retracted its robotic arm on Oct. 3, 2020, revealing where the spike-like "mole" is trying to burrow into Mars. After each placement, the situation was checked through imaging and recordings of arm motor current data before a number of hammer strokes were commanded. I described the situation in more detail in my previous post, in which I also detailed how the team attempted to explain the downward and then upward motion during one single hammering session (we had not seen this before). 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. In fact, the probe continued to move according to the movements of the tether, but it could not be clearly determined that these movements brought the Mole deeper into the ground. The movement of the cable also suggests that the Mole moves further under the scoop. Practically, I based all my life on this stuff! (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Enter your email address to subscribe to Dual Dove and receive notifications of new posts by email. I think, at the latest after filling the pit, we should be able to counter the recoil with sufficient force and the Mole will hopefully 'dig' deeper into the Martian soil on its own. The mission team has been performing many tests to help the mole reach at least that depth—the goal: Mars’ temperature. InSight Flexes Its Arm While Its 'Mole' Hits Pause Now that the lander's robotic arm has helped the mole get underground, it will resume science activities that have been on hold. Only the back cap and a few centimetres of the hull are sticking out. That has seemed to work, up to a point, but NASA’s newest update has some troubling news. However, the soil where NASA’s lander arrived is way different than previous missions. NASA removed a protective covering that housed the mole’s entry hole and then used the InSight lander’s robotic arm to press against the soil and increase the friction. As I had reported in an earlier post, the present mode of operation of the InSight mission allows only one cycle of operations per week. The next, more serious intervention involved using the robotic arm and its scoop to push the probe into the hole. Furthermore, the increased demands on the operations team associated with managing the reduced power availability meant that the Mole and the scoop could only be commanded fortnightly from September onwards. The atmosphere is already getting dustier and the power generated by the solar panels is decreasing. On 26 November 2018, InSight touched down north of the equator, on the Elysium Planitia plain. I am very passionate about technology, music, and cinematography. I have already mentioned that the placement of the scoop is risky and must be done with millimetre accuracy. During the hammering, the flat tether running to the probe moved considerably, but these could only be clearly identified as forward movements during the hammering on 22 August. InSight Update, Sol 92: The Mole Did Hit a Rock. Your email address will not be published. It was interesting to observe that during the second half of the round of 250 hammer blows on 19 September, the scoop did not go any further, probably because it encountered duricrust. The burrowing heat probe onboard NASA's InSight Mars lander, affectionately known as "the mole," was designed to hammer itself at least 10 feet (3 meters) underground. Images taken by InSight during a Saturday, June 20, hammering session show bits of soil jostling within the scoop – possible evidence that the mole had begun bouncing in place, knocking the bottom of the scoop. After reviewing the images from Sol 577, the team’s discussion quickly turned to strategies for the next move. Keep your fingers crossed! NASA’s InSight lander is praised for its continuous work. By the way, this was the condition for some to agree to the quite controversial ‘scratch test’. In particular, dust in the Martian atmosphere as a result of nearby dust storms and the settling of dust on the solar cells significantly reduced the available electrical power. In his logbook, Instrument Lead Tilman Spohn who is back in Berlin since April and communicating with JPL via the web, gives us the latest updates regarding the InSight mission and our HP3 instrument – the ‘Mole’ – which will hammer into the Martian surface. The copper-colored … The lander safely touched down and began conducting science, but one of its instruments has been acting up in a big way. NASA’s InSight lander is praised for its continuous work. The scrape was much more effective than expected and the sand filled the pit almost completely. reporting is second only to his gaming addiction. Depending on the result of the back filling, further actions to fill the pit will be planned before further hammering and another Free Mole Test will take place later on. We started about seven centimetres above the surface on Sol 458 (11 March) and we are now at the surface with the scoop on Sol 536 (30 May 30), after six cycles of hammering over 11 weeks. Mars could've given us a break, but it didn't. His love of The two recent images from the InSight Fish-eye camera on the lander (ICC) and the camera on the robotic arm (IDC) show HP 3 and SEIS on the surface and the arm inspecting the HP 3 instrument. As for the build process, the Lockheed Martin Space in Denver developed the spacecraft, lander, and the cruise stage. The best example of that might be the ongoing saga of the Mars InSight lander which arrived on the red planet back in late 2018. This is first of all a somewhat simpler, more predictable and less time-consuming operation compared to a sequence of scraping movements; possibly combined with movements of the shovel to fill the pit. But whether it will be able to dig deep enough – at least 10 feet (3 meters) – to get an accurate temperature reading of the planet remains to be seen. When the Mole back cap is at a depth of approximately 20 centimetres, loading the surface will have become ineffective and the regolith push should no longer be necessary. Also, the scoop is obviously at an angle with respect to the regolith surface, such that the right edge of the scoop may still be a centimetre or so above the surface. Hammering with the 30-degree-inclined scoop on 22 August 2020 (Sol 618). In the deployment phase in early 2019, commanding was success oriented – that is, as needed. The HP3 mole started hammering itself today, and almost immediately (after just 5 minutes) appears to have encountered a rock. (Remember, we are in a phase of the mission when the instruments should be ‘monitoring’ rather than ‘deploying’. The force should be enough to offset the hammer mechanism's recoil of about seven newtons. I’ll bring you news about science, space, and health. Here is what you need to know. The scoop travels further into the sand at first, but shows no movement after approximately 60 percent of the time has passed. Not as much as in October, but nevertheless, after going 1.5 centimetres into the surface, it reversed direction and backed out by 1.5 plus 3.5 centimetres, with the back cap ending a total of approximately five centimetres above the deepest position reached at the time and about seven centimetres above the surface. 5 May 2018 saw the launch of NASA's InSight mission, in which a lander will carry out geophysical measurements directly on the surface of Mars to explore the planet's inner structure and thermal balance. It will most likely take months to get enough soil, and the mole is expected to resume hammering next year. This was certainly a desired outcome, as it allowed a second Free Mole Test to be conducted. The scraping was a complete success! And, is it not wonderful how people can work together from home across large distances on Earth and to Mars? Only after the team had gained some confidence in its ability to carefully place the scoop and in the rate of progress of the Mole did we increase the number of hammer strokes per session to, in the end, 150 strokes per session. In the monitoring phase, we have far fewer team members; most have other project commitments.) This led to the HP3 radiometer no longer conducting measurements as we wanted. The probe’s inability to hammer itself deeper into the planet has been well chronicled, and NASA just revealed a new update that suggests things haven’t really improved that much since the last time we checked in. For this, the scoop is placed above the back cap and slowly lowered until it touches the cap. NASA’s InSight lander has a self-hammering probe that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. The imprint of the scoop in the sand is clearly visible. Therefore, the team proceeded very carefully. Logbook entry 3 June 2020 Notify me of follow-up comments by email. In my last logbook entry on 10 August, I reported that we had succeeded in pushing sand into the pit better than expected. In addition, the Mole is a bit deeper in the ground than initially deduced from the stereo images. The mole is designed to hammer itself deeper into the Mars soil, but it just couldn’t get a grip on the loose dirt that covers the planet. We then have two options, either fill the pit to provide more friction and push on the regolith, or use the scoop to push at the back-cap again, but this time with its tip rather than with its flat bottom surface. We will then do what we planned to do more than a year ago – command the Mole to hammer to depth. The arm camera has taken many more images that will be studied by JPL and DLR scientists in a few hours for a final GO for … A New Nanocatalyst Can Turn the Greenhouse Gas into Hydrogen, Robots Reveal Why Fish School – They Take Advantage of the Swirls of Water. NASA's InSight retracted its robotic arm on Oct. 3, 2020, revealing where the spike-like "mole" is trying to burrow into Mars. InSight HP3 Mole UpdateGerman Aerospace Center (DLR). Hammering with the 30-degree-inclined scoop on 19 September 2020 (Sol 645). How Ocean Circulation Influences the Climate Change: New Studies Explain, How Did Earth Get Oxygen: New Study Explains, Asteroid Psyche Insights: New Research Brings More Information. Some were in favour of filling the pit, compacting the sand in the pit, and then pushing the scoop onto the surface to provide force, which would then be transmitted to the Mole by the sand. Required fields are marked *. Afterwards, a thermal conductivity measurement will be carried out, which should also give us indirect indications about the backfilling. After approximately 1.5 centimetres, the pushing force reduces to zero and the push action has to be renewed. Therefore, the next step will be another hammering with the scoop pushing on the back-cap. The image below shows the situation as simulated in a laboratory at DLR. This may affect our ability to performing energy consuming operations with the arm in the near future. More images of the mission can be found here. NASA's InSight spacecraft has used its robotic arm to help its heat probe, known as "the mole," dig nearly 2 centimeters (3/4 of an inch) over the past week. The Mole is completely covered with sand and the pit is largely filled. If the friction doesn’t exist, the mole will start bouncing. You may recall that our leading theory was that the Mole did not move into the subsurface because the regolith did not provide enough friction to balance the recoil force of the Mole. The movie shows the entire history of penetration through back-cap pushing. The mole is designed to dig as deep … As a supporting indication, I note that a recent measurement of the thermal conductance from the Mole to the regolith shows increased values over earlier measurements. You’ve really got to hand it to NASA; the space agency definitely doesn’t give up easily.

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