NASA Engineers Try To Remedy Stuck Probe On Mars

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Publisher: NPR.org
Date: 2019-06-12
Twitter: @NPR
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How to move a mole: NASA scientists design rescue operation for Mars lander

NASA’s InSight lander is facing some challenges as it investigates the Red Planet. Earlier this year it deployed its drilling instrument, the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) to learn about temperature variations within the Martian soil. But a part of the instrument called the mole got stuck while drilling.

Since then scientists have been trying to figure out what caused the problem ‘ and what to do next. They believe the mole is stuck because there is not enough friction in the soil. In other areas of Mars, the friction in the soil is higher, so the mole was designed to let loose soil flow around it and hold it in place. But in this particular area, they think the soil may have become compacted and created a gap around the mole. The mole therefore has nothing to grab onto and can’t move.

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NASA tries new approach to fix Mars InSight instrument

WASHINGTON ‘ NASA plans to take new steps later in June to try and resolve a problem with one of the key instruments on the Mars InSight lander.

In a June 5 statement, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said it will use the lander’s robotic arm, designed to place instruments onto the Martian surface, to lift up the support structure for the Heat Flow and Physics Properties Package (HP3) as part of efforts to troubleshoot the instrument.

The instrument, placed on the Martian surface early this year, features a probe, or ‘mole,’ designed to burrow to a depth as great as five meters below the surface in order to measure the heat flow from the planet’s interior. However, the probe has been stuck about 30 centimeters below the surface for the last three months.

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Publisher: SpaceNews.com
Date: 2019-06-06T17:39:03+00:00
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Barbara Crawford Johnson: The woman who pointed NASA’s path to the Moon

Publisher: Astronomy.com
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Greetings Earthlings: We are out of our element The data presented above may one day be zapped to another dimension. Just thought you should be aware. Dude, there was a blue light over there just now.