Posted By Ankit Kadam Posted On

Engineers Continue To Work To Free Mars Insight Lander

NASA’s engineers have still not lost hope on the Insight Mars lander that is stuck below its surface and are trying all means to free it. This is because the lander has an important device called Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe (HP3) that is built to make its way down to depth of five meters below the planet’s surface and check flow of heat in its interiors. The instrument had been placed on the spacecraft a couple of weeks after it landed in last November and the hammering process by the probe to find a way down began in February this year but then project scientists had to stop the work when it appeared that the probe/mole as stuck around 30 centimeters below the top surface.  Since then engineers have been driving to find reasons about why and how it has got stuck and ways to get it out.

The engineering team working on it has identified three likely causes for the jammed mole which is rocky layer that has blocked further progress or that its tether holding the mole to its base could be struck in its support structure. Another thought is that the hull of the mole does not have sufficient friction with surrounding surface to stop it from rebounding when its hammer is fired. According to Pascale Ehrenfreund of German Space Agency (DLR) stated that the last explanation seems the most likely as they have already moved a rock away. The DLR developed this instrument for this InSight mission and Ehrenfreund stated that in the last few days the instrument managed to make some hammerings in past few days but results of the effort are yet to be analyzed. But she remained optimistic that the HP3 is strong enough to reach its final destination as all its tests show that it is strong and versatile and will start operations once it is slowly hammered down.