NASA’s Insight Lander Has Finally Managed to Drill the Surface of Mars

The mole is the nickname for the instrument that’s known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package on the InSight lander mission from NASA. The lander, which got on Mars back in November 2018, was made to help scientists with details about what’s inside the Red Planet. That’s how they learn more about its internal structure. The mole is one of the lander three key tools that helped them. However, there was a teeny tiny problem. For about a year, the team of the mission struggled to deploy it. 

They solved the problem

After some serious challenges, they were able to solve the problem. “After several assists from my robotic arm, the mole appears to be underground. It’s been a real challenge troubleshooting from millions of miles away. We still need to see if the mole can dig on its own.” 

This is made out of a drillbit like an assembly full of heat sensors. They’re all attached to the main body of the lander with the help of a taillike tether. It is made to hammer itself up to 5 meters into the surface of the planet. The thing is that as it burrows down, the temperature sensors will study the rock that is going through, and it will see how the energy moves out from the core of the planet. 

This is a brand-new type of instrument for Mars. However, the team tested it in the chambers of the dirt on Earth, and this cannot really match the circumstances met on the Red Planet. So when it started to drill, it struggled, it got stuck, or it backed out. Ever since then, they tried a lot of techniques to get it to drill as it was supposed to, but they always ran into obstacles. 

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Carrie J. Bronstein

About the Author: Carrie J. Bronstein

Carrie Bronstein helped bring Webby Feed from a weekly newsletter to a full-fledged news site by creating a new website and branding. She continues to assist in keeping the site responsive and well organized for the readers. As a contributor to Webby Feed, Carrie mainly covers mobile news and gadgets.

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