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First “Mole” on Mars Hits Rocky Snag under the red planet's surface

The first Martian "pier" encountered some obstacles underground when the NASA InSight lander dug beneath the surface, NASA reported. InSight Mars Lander, who moved on Mars in November, deployed a probe as part of its heat and physical properties package (also called HP3). The probe or "mole" is designed to dig underground and measure heat from inside Mars, information that helps scientists better understand the structure and formation of the planet. But the 16 inch (40 centimeter) probe made it only three quarters of the way out of its residential structure on February 28 before stopping short. A second attempt, Saturday (March 2), made little progress. In a statement NASA officials said that the information received so far indicates that the jetty is at a 1 5-degree slope and has struck some rock or gravel. While the instrument is designed to get around rocky obstacles, the German instrument team plans to stop the procedure for further investigation. "The team has decided to pause the hammer to now allow the situation to be analyzed more closely and jointly come to the call for strategies to overcome the obstacle," Tilman Spohn, HP3's main researcher at the German Space Center (DLR), said . in a blog post . This break lasts about two weeks, he added. While the probe is not moving right now, it otherwise works as it should. When everything is set, the probe will release heat pulses of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) to measure how quickly the heat…

The first Martian “pier” encountered some obstacles underground when the NASA InSight lander dug beneath the surface, NASA reported.

InSight Mars Lander, who moved on Mars in November, deployed a probe as part of its heat and physical properties package (also called HP3). The probe or “mole” is designed to dig underground and measure heat from inside Mars, information that helps scientists better understand the structure and formation of the planet.

But the 16 inch (40 centimeter) probe made it only three quarters of the way out of its residential structure on February 28 before stopping short. A second attempt, Saturday (March 2), made little progress. In a statement NASA officials said that the information received so far indicates that the jetty is at a 1

5-degree slope and has struck some rock or gravel. While the instrument is designed to get around rocky obstacles, the German instrument team plans to stop the procedure for further investigation.

“The team has decided to pause the hammer to now allow the situation to be analyzed more closely and jointly come to the call for strategies to overcome the obstacle,” Tilman Spohn, HP3’s main researcher at the German Space Center (DLR), said . in a blog post . This break lasts about two weeks, he added.

While the probe is not moving right now, it otherwise works as it should. When everything is set, the probe will release heat pulses of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) to measure how quickly the heat emits below the surface.

“This feature, called thermal conductivity, helps to calibrate sensors embedded in a tether trailing from the back of clouds,” NASA officials said. “When clouds are deep enough, these seal sensors can measure Mars & # 39; natural heat coming from within the planet, which is generated by decayed radioactive materials and energy left from Mars formation.”

For now, the team is doing more warm-up tests with their moles to see how Mars upper surface leads heat. The team will also measure temperature changes using a radiometer on the InSight tire. This week provides an interesting opportunity to do so, as InSight will experience mini-eclipses when one of the Marbles Phobos moves in front of the sun. When Phobos partially blocks the sun, it will cool the terrain surrounding InSight.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook .

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