The heat-sensing spike deployed by InSight Lander of NASA on the surface of the Red Plant has been finally visible. Previous week, the robotic arm of the spacecraft was finally able to set aside the mole’s support structure which had been formerly impossible to dig. With the structure now out of the direct sight, the mission team was able to get a clear view of the mole and also an idea which would help it dig.
Troy Hudson belonging to the group of engineers and scientist at InSight mission of Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA in Pasadena California said that they have successfully achieved the first step of their target to save the mole. However, they are not finished yet. The entire team is for now excited because they are much closer to the goal of moving the mole. A section of the instrument named Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) which is the self-hammering mole has been made in a way to dig deeper to 16 feet and measure the temperature of Mars. But the mole was unable to dig more than 12 inches as known on February 28th 2019. The team had then instructed the instrument to stop the dig so that they could figure out a way to move further.
DLR testing found that the soil might not give the type of friction that the mole was developed for. Scientists have been doing tests to save the mole at JPL. It led the InSight mission and German Aerospace Center to provide HP3. In absence of the friction to provide balance to recoil from self-hammering motion instead of the dig, the mole would just keep bouncing. A clear sign of the unexpected soil type was evident from the images captured by the camera of the robotic hand. A small pit has developed in the mole’s surrounding sue to the hammering in places.