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DLR’s Mars Heat Probe Remains Stuck as Efforts Suspended

16 Sep 2019, 10:25 UTC
DLR’s Mars Heat Probe Remains Stuck as Efforts Suspended
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Illustration of HP3 mole instrument on NASA’s InSight Mars lander. (Credit: DLR)

DLR Mission Update

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).

Figure 1 (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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