Home / Science / Rescue plan for InSight countries' fixed heat probes in progress – NASASpaceFlight.com

Rescue plan for InSight countries' fixed heat probes in progress – NASASpaceFlight.com

Ever since its successful landing at Elysium Planitia on Mars back on November 26 last year, NASA's spacecraft feberishly has studied the plan's internal structure to get a feel for how it was formed and then evolved into billions of years. [19659002] These studies are currently being conducted using a plethora of scientific instruments and experiments, including an advanced self-hammer probe (lovingly nicknamed "mole") that can monitor the heat flow through the Mars surface. However, this probe suffers from some problems that require a resolution plan to be implemented.

This instrument, officially referred to as heat and physical properties – or HP3 for cards – was developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and delivered to NASA for use on InSight Lander.

The small 35 centimeter long probe was designed to dig as deep as 5 meters below the Mars surface while connected to a denser, embedded with temperature sensors that can determine how effectively the heat travels from the planet's core.

Data taken from can then be used to reveal new information about Mars & # 39; core and its material state ̵

1; whether presently a liquid or solid core.

The heat profile is supported by a larger rectangular structure, giving the total mass of the HP3 package 3 kg. After being placed on the surface of InSight's robotic instrument distribution arm (IDA), the support structure would ensure that the probe was held in place during the initial hammer sequence.

If everything to this point went well, the probe would keep on burrowing to 5 meters deep, provided that it did not encounter any obstacles.

DLR researchers and engineers built the heat profile with the purpose of using friction to its advantage – that is, the earthly earth would absorb recoil from the probe's hammer action, providing sufficient friction for movement.

A small engine and gearbox are located inside, which periodically charges a spring connected to a rod. After release, this "hammer" accelerates downward and into the outer casing of the probe, allowing it to land in the ground.

The HP3 package was successfully used on the Mars surface in February 12, 2019, and the heat flow probe was released from its carrier structure on February 22. NASA and DLR originally gave the battle to begin on the 26th, but were forced to hold onto the 28th

. Today, the probe began to hammer into the regolith as expected and made it one foot (12 inches) deep into the surface. But after about half an hour, both the NASA and DLR teams discovered a problem: the probe could not hammer beyond that.

First, both authorities assumed that the probe had contacted a stone just below the surface. But they had prepared for this scenario – the probe had previously destroyed small stones and even maneuvered around others during earth testing. As such, they commanded the probe to continue hammering, if the force were to crush the obstacle or push it aside. Unfortunately, no such thing occurred during that day's business.

NASA and DLR also began to suspect that the martens themselves would blame the sudden stop of the probe. The usually loose regolith would flow evenly around the unit during hammering, as observed during simulated testing in terrestrial laboratories.

JPL engineers are testing on models of the HP3 package – credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

However, it has been suggested that the probe may have found an empty space in the ground surface, which cannot provide the friction necessary for movement. Instead, the unit would just bounce in place.

After about 4 months of investigation, engineers from the NASA and DLR groups came across another potential issue: in attempting to hammer through the obstacle, the probe had received its slope of about 15 degrees relative to vertical – this was observed when the support structure moved about 2 centimeters from its last position.

This, coupled with the shallow depth of the Mars surface, meant that the probe might have wedged inside the HP³ package support structure clock, preventing it from moving independently of the obstacle it encountered. But NASA or DLR could certainly say, because the support structure blocked InSight's view of the probe itself.

Illustration of heat probe bound support structure – credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Therefore, both authorities spent early June with a plan to "rescue" the probe and resume hammering operations: they would send commands to InSight & # 39 ; s Deployment Arm to slowly lift the support structure upwards thereby allowing the law to look better on the device.

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