(ORDO NEWS) — After more than a year of trying to dive beneath the surface of Mars and measure the temperature of the Red Planet from the inside, a mole attached to NASA’s InSight Mars lander finally buried itself in the sand.
Back in June, the manipulator team pulled a mole out of the Martian soil to test it, and decided to return to surface drilling. After a lengthy 150-hitting jackhammer session on June 20, the mole sank into Martian sand, JPL reported.
“Only the back cover and a few centimeters of the case protrude out.”
The mole’s mission is to measure the temperature of Mars from beneath the surface – and after it was completely buried, “both thermal and mechanical contact improved,” the statement said . “So we are optimistic!”
On May 5, 2018, the NASA InSight mission was launched, within which the lander will conduct geophysical measurements directly on the surface of Mars to study the internal structure of the planet and heat balance. The DLR team contributed to this mission with the Heat Flux and Physical Properties Package (HP3) tool. On November 26, 2018, InSight landed north of the equator on the Elysium Planitia plain.
The main goal of the experiment is to determine the thermal state of the interior of Mars using heat flux measurements taken below the surface. On the basis of these data, it is possible to check and refine the models of formation, chemical composition and internal structure of Mars. Measurements from Mars can also be used to draw conclusions about the early development of the Earth.
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