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Thread: Mars Insight Lander

  1. #121
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    This might not be good.

    spaceflightnow.com

    Ground teams analyzing data from a heat probe that got stuck soon after it started digging into the Martian crust under NASA’s robotic InSight lander still hope they can free the mole from an obstruction that halted its progress more than a month ago, but the mission’s chief scientist says the chances of completing the heat probe experiment — one of InSight’s two main science instruments — may not look promising.

    ....


    Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said March 26 that ground teams are assessing the possibility of moving the surface support structure using the lander’s robotic arm. InSight is a stationary spacecraft, so the options to relocate the HP3 instrument’s surface structure are limited.

    “It’s actually designed to be able to go around a rock,” Banerdt said. “If it hits a rock at an angle of 45 degrees or so, it can change its direction and actually go around the rock. So we’re looking at possibly moving the surface structure so that it’s not being constrained at the top.”

    There is no reverse motor on the mole, eliminating the possibility of relocating the instrument without using the robotic arm, an operation scientists consider risky.

    “We’re not completely giving up yet,” Banerdt said last week during a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science. “It doesn’t look real promising, but we still have a fairly reasonable chance of being able to complete this experiment.”
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  2. #122
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    Either my browser isn’t refreshing correctly, or there hasn’t been an update to the mission logbook since March 22.

    https://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/all-blog...n-logbook.aspx



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  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Either my browser isn’t refreshing correctly, or there hasn’t been an update to the mission logbook since March 22.

    https://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/all-blog...n-logbook.aspx
    This is the latest I have found.

    http://www.leonarddavid.com/trouble-...rties-package/

    Engineers on the NASA InSight Mars lander mission are still trouble-shooting the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3). There remains uncertainty as to why the “mole” — the nickname for the self-hammering spike that is part of HP3 — is not performing as expected.

    “The discussion about the reasons of the mole not penetrating further have settled to three hypotheses of similar credibility but differing likelihood of occurring,” reports Tilman Spohn of the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin.
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  4. #124
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    Marsquake detected by InSight!

    https://phys.org/news/2019-04-marsqu...ed-planet.html

    April 23, 2019
    'Marsquake': first tremor detected on Red Planet

    A dome-shaped probe known as SEIS landed on the surface of Mars in December after hitching a ride on NASA's InSight spacecraft. Its instruments measure surface vibrations caused by weather but are also capable of detecting movement from deep within the planet—so called "marsquakes"—or those caused by meteorite impacts. The French space agency CNES, which operates SEIS, said it had detected "a weak but distinct seismic signal" from the probe.

  5. #125
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    How is it determined that the event was not a meteoroid strike?

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by bknight View Post
    How is it determined that the event was not a meteoroid strike?
    Hope that is made clear soon. No idea myself.

  7. #127
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    Here is the NASA.gov press release about it.


    NASA’s Mars InSight lander has measured and recorded for the first time ever a likely “marsquake.”

    The faint seismic signal, detected by the lander’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, was recorded on April 6, the lander’s 128th Martian day, or sol. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Scientists still are examining the data to determine the exact cause of the signal.
    It looks like it isn't completely definitive yet, and they were mostly trying to differentiate it from wind and lander noises. They don't discuss meteoroid strikes. If there is something about the signal that indicates depth below the surface, that might be how, but I don't know enough about the signals.
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  8. #128
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    Read another article about it, said the SEIS was not sensitive enough to give any data about the Martian interior. I don't recall if there was any distinction made about moonquakes during the Apollo era being internal or external in cause, except when the S-IVB's hit. Those appeared to be very clear impact strikes and made the Moon "ring".

  9. #129
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    Video from the JPL about plans to remediate the HP^3 (HPCubed) heat probe mole and get it burrowing again.

    https://youtu.be/G9sJl3lacpQ

    NASA InSight scientist/engineer Troy Hudson gives us the game plan for getting the mission's heat probe, also known as the "mole," digging again on Mars.

  10. #130
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    Mars Insight Lander

    The DLR Blog has been updated on June 14 with info on the plan to get the Mole moving again.

    https://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/all-blog...n-logbook.aspx


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  11. #131
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    ... next, remove the cover...

    NASA.gov

    Last week, the spacecraft's robotic arm successfully removed the support structure of the mole, which has been unable to dig, and placed it to the side. Getting the structure out of the way gives the mission team a view of the mole — and maybe a way to help it dig.

    "We've completed the first step in our plan to save the mole," said Troy Hudson of a scientist and engineer with the InSight mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We're not done yet. But for the moment, the entire team is elated because we're that much closer to getting the mole moving again."
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  12. #132
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    Emily Lakdawalla on the InSight mission.

    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily...robe-lift.html

    It’s been 3 months since my last check-in with the InSight mission. In that time, they’ve detected a few more very small Marsquakes, including the largest yet, coming in at a magnitude 3.0, reported via the SEIS instrument Twitter feed on June 5. I’m looking forward to the Ninth International Conference on Mars in about 3 weeks, when there will be several presentations on scientific results from team members representing the seismometer, magnetometer, weather, and heat probe instruments.

    While we’re waiting for science results, the main item of interest on InSight has been the continuing work to solve the problem with the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe (HP3, pronounced "H-P-cubed"). Its main component is a self-hammering mole that’s supposed to jackhammer 5 meters down into the Martian soil, unreeling an instrumented tether that it’ll use to measure the rate of heat flow out of the Martian interior and also the way that the Martian surface responds to daily and seasonal temperature changes. The issue is that the self-hammering mole hasn’t managed to penetrate the surface, stopping at roughly 20 centimeters depth despite very insistent hammering. As part of the anomaly recovery effort, last weekend mission engineers lifted the mole’s housing completely off the surface and set it down elsewhere, exposing the top of the mole sticking out a hole that is, very surprisingly, more than twice as wide as the mole. More on the mole hole below.
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  13. #133
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    InSight has recorded a magnetic and water on Mars!!!

    https://www.americaspace.com/2019/09...ses-and-water/

    Mars is usually thought of as pretty much a dead world, geologically-speaking. But NASA’s InSight lander is finding that may not be exactly true. Some early results from InSight’s investigations of the planet’s interior have shown evidence for an oddly pulsating magnetic field, a more magnetic crust than expected and, maybe, the existence of a global reservoir of subsurface water.

    The intriguing results were presented last week at a joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society.

    “We’re getting an insight into Mars’s magnetic history in a way we’ve never had before,” said Paul Byrne, a planetary geologist at North Carolina State University.

    InSight found that Mars’ crustal magnetic field “pulsates” or wobbles sometimes. This happens on Earth as well, and can be caused by turbulence in the upper atmospheric, solar wind and kinks in the planet’s magnetic bubbles, among other things. But on Mars, the wobbles seem to happen at midnight for some unknown reason.

    One possibility has to do with Mars’ bubble-like global magnetic field. Although it is much weaker than Earth’s, it still interacts with the solar wind coming from the Sun. Part of the bubble forms a tail-like shape. InSight’s location of Mars is aligned with this tail at midnight, and scientists think that the tail may “pluck” the local magnetic field at that moment, kind of like a guitar string.
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  14. #134
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    "NASA's InSight 'Hears' Peculiar Sounds on Mars"

    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7508

    Put an ear to the ground on Mars and you'll be rewarded with a symphony of sounds. Granted, you'll need superhuman hearing, but NASA's InSight lander comes equipped with a very special "ear."

    The spacecraft's exquisitely sensitive seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), can pick up vibrations as subtle as a breeze. The instrument was provided by the French space agency, Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), and its partners.

    SEIS was designed to listen for marsquakes. Scientists want to study how the seismic waves of these quakes move through the planet's interior, revealing the deep inner structure of Mars for the first time.

    But after the seismometer was set down by InSight's robotic arm, Mars seemed shy. It didn't produce its first rumbling until this past April, and this first quake turned out to be an odd duck. It had a surprisingly high-frequency seismic signal compared to what the science team has heard since then. Out of more than 100 events detected to date, about 21 are strongly considered to be quakes. The remainder could be quakes as well, but the science team hasn't ruled out other causes.
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  15. #135
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    Any word regarding the status of the “mole”?


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  16. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Any word regarding the status of the “mole”?
    None that I have come across. Last I could find was in August.
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  17. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    "NASA's InSight 'Hears' Peculiar Sounds on Mars"

    https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7508
    Does it see dead people?

  18. #138
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    From the blog of Instrument Lead Tilman Spohn:

    https://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/all-blog...n-logbook.aspx

    In his logbook, Instrument Lead Tilman Spohn who is back in Berlin since April and communicating with JPL via the web, gives us the latest updates regarding the InSight mission and our HP3 instrument - the 'Mole' - which will hammer into the Martian surface.

    Logbook entry 27 August 2019

    I hope you had - or are still having - a good summer!

    Back in early July, I reported that we had safely removed the Support Structure Assembly (the SSA) to expose the mole. You may recall that the SSA’s function is to house the mole and the tethers before deployment and that it was sitting above the mole when the latter penetrated into the surface. The SSA was thus blocking the view of the mole. By removing it, we enabled us to view the mole up close, to eventually interact with it, and to work its immediate surroundings with the robotic arm. What we saw first showed us that our estimate of the length of the mole in the sand of 30-35 cm was pretty good (Figure 1).

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
    We see now that about 5 cm are sticking out of the ground. This also confirmed our suspicion that the mole had stopped penetrating as it left the guiding springs in the SSA that had provided the necessary friction. It would have been extremely bad luck if a sufficiently large stone would be found just at that depth of 35 cm. What further confirmed the theory of lacking friction from the Martian sand was the size of the pit that the mole had cut out. We had indications before that the mole might have dug a hole or a pit but we had not expected it to be that large. As you can see from Figure 1, the diameter of the "mole hole" (you may recall that we had nick-named our commanding office at JPL the "mole hole in December) is almost twice the mole diameter or about 6 cm. Thus, the mole must have precessed (like a spinning top) while it was digging. Moreover, the twist in the tether shows that the mole must have rotated clockwise about its long axis by about 135°. The image also showed that the feet of the SSA had left clear footmarks that had remained stable, indicative of at least some regolith cohesion as is the pit itself. The multiple footmarks are proof of the SSA having been lifted and bouncing with the mole during hammering.

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
    Another image taken later under better lighting conditions (Figure 2) revealed the bottom of the pit being about 2.5-3 mole diameters or 7-8 cm deep. That image also suggested that there was a layer of quite some cohesion with clumps and concretions and maybe caverns, possibly overlying cohesionless sand. The interpretation is that we exposed a layer of duricrust about 5-10 cm thick (on Mars, the term duricrust is used to indicate a mechanically strong layer of regolith, somewhat different than in terrestrial geology). It is thought by geologists to consist of cemented sand.

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
    In July one believed that the duricrust around the pit might be easily crushable. Thus, it was decided to go ahead with the plan of loading the surface with the scoop to increase pressure and thus friction on the mole hull, but, the pit would have to be collapsed first. Three rounds of pushing on the surface with the scoop followed until mid of August of two pushes each. The first push was done with the flat blade (65 sqcm), just as shown in Figure 3.

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
    Then 4 pushes with the sharp tip (Figure 4a left,and 4b, right) and a final one again with the blade. The pushes had a force of about 50 N, equivalent to about 10 kPa of vertical stress with the blade and 300 kPa with the tip.

    Quelle: NASA/JPL-Caltech
    The picture left (Figure 5) shows the result of pushing with the tip - right (Figure 6) is the result of the final push with a flat blade
    Figure 5 shows the result of gardening with the tip (mid of August 2019), and Figure 6 the result of the final push with the flat blade. As Figure 6 shows, none of these could fully collapse the pit, although a partial collapse can be seen on the right-hand side of the pit. This probably indicates some inhomogeneity in the duricrust rheological properties. Moreover, it is seen that the pit got partially filled to about half of the initial depth. I conclude that the duricrust has a compressive strength of at least a few 100 kPa and is overlain by an about 1 cm thick layer of loose dust (which is the material that got mostly moved and compressed by the pushes). It is interesting to note that an independent estimate that I made on the basis of our tiltmeter recordings of the initial penetration of the mole resulted in a similar order of magnitude resistance (300 kPa) of the top layer to penetration. These recordings had suggested that the mole first lifted the SSA while at the same time penetrating slowly about 7 cm until it had hammered through the duricrust and the SSA resettled on the ground.

    The mission is pausing now until 10. September because Mars is entering what is known as solar conjunction. This means that Mars is becoming invisible from the Earth because it is moving behind the sun (as seen from Earth) and communication with a spacecraft on Mars becomes impossible.

    The project has prepared the lander for this hiatus and some in the team use the time for some well deserved vacation. For others, this is a break that will allow some thinking ahead of what to do next. I am leaning towards moving away from further trying to collapse the pit as it proved to be very time consuming. Rather, I am thinking towards pinning the mole with the scoop such that the pinning and the pressing of the mole against the wall of the pit would increase friction. This will be more risky than the previous strategy, but with the unexpectedly stiff duricrust, it may be worth a try.

    That's it for now. Stay tuned until we come back from conjunction with a report on what the project finally decided to do.

  19. #139
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    "NASA Makes Progress in Restoring InSight’s Malfunctioning Heat Probe"

    https://www.americaspace.com/2019/10...ng-heat-probe/

    NASA’s InSight mission on Mars has been incredibly successful so far, with new findings about magnetism in the crust, marsquakes and even possible evidence for a vast amount of subsurface water.

    One problem, however, has been difficult to contend with over the past several months – the lander’s self-hammering heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3) or “the mole,” has been stuck and unable to penetrate deeper into the ground as intended.

    The mole was designed to dig down as much as 16 feet (five meters) into the ground, in order to measure the amount of heat escaping from the planet’s interior, but so far has only reached 14 inches (35 centimeters). The exact cause has been a bit of a puzzle, with efforts to fix the issue so far proving unsuccessful.

    But recently, mission engineers have been trying a new tactic, called “pinning.”
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  20. #140
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    After 6 months the heat probe being stuck, it moved 2 cm deeper.

    https://spacenews.com/insight-instru...rtian-surface/

    A probe on NASA’s InSight Mars lander that has been stuck for months is moving deeper into the surface again thanks to an assist from the lander’s robotic arm.

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Oct. 17 that the probe, or “mole,” for the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument on the lander had moved about two centimeters deeper into the surface since Oct. 8. That marks the first movement into the surface since the mole got stuck about 30 centimeters below the surface in early March.
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  21. #141
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    The mole continues moving downward, albeit slower than expected.

    https://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/all-blog...n-logbook.aspx



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  22. #142
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    More good news from Mars: The Mole has digged further even after releasing the pinning!
    "Digged?"

    CJSF
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    Overcoming all resistance long after my remains have been
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    I'll be haunting you."

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  23. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    "Digged?"

    CJSF
    I noticed that, but it is a German site, so I made allowances for subtleties that might allude a non-native speaker. Then again I find a surprising number of errors at major American and British sites too.

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  24. #144
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    It also seems that right after that update, images from the lander have shown the mole has somehow backed 1/2 way out of the hole! This is completely unexpected, but they already have some working hypotheses regarding soil mechanics. But I worry that they won't be able to redeploy.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-insig...rs-misfortune/

    CJSF
    "Flipping this one final switch I'm effectively ensuring that I will be
    Overcoming all resistance long after my remains have been
    Vaporized with extreme prejudice and shot into outer space.

    I'll be haunting you."

    -They Might Be Giants, "I'll Be Haunting You"


    lonelybirder.org

  25. #145
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    Wow, the latest pictures don’t look promising at all.



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  26. #146
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    Here's a more complete image(s) and description. I agree with Extravoice, it doesn't look good.
    https://www.space.com/mars-insight-m...GeRY0Ue4lXSQQb

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