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InSight engineers have created a mardic stone garden

Engineers increase deployment of InSights instrument in a laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Several of them wear sunglasses to block the bright yellow lights in the test room, which mimics the sunlight as it occurs on Mars. Imagination Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / IPGPNASA's InSight Lander is due to put its first scientific instrument on Mars in the coming days. But engineers here on earth already saw that it happened &#821 1; last week. As NASA's curiosity movement, InSight has a full-scale work model at the Agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This sisterland, appropriately named ForeSight, allows the team to test all operations before they happen on Mars. In order to practice how InSight will place its instruments, JPL engineers built a mardic rock garden modeled on images from spacecraft cameras. The team shaved, shoveled and patted down a crushed grenade bed designed to simulate martinsand. They call the shaping of this gravel-like material "Marsforming". A four inch (10 centimeter) shelf layer was added to the labyrinth to match the surface and the height of the surface in front of InSight. By donating elevated reality heads, the team was able to project digital terrain models at the landing site on the test bed, check if they needed to bump more gravel in space or smooth it out. Wooden blocks marked the perimeter of the areas where the seismometer's seismometer and heat profile could be placed; Precision cameras in the laboratory were used to measure…



Engineers increase deployment of InSights instrument in a laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Several of them wear sunglasses to block the bright yellow lights in the test room, which mimics the sunlight as it occurs on Mars. Imagination Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / IPGP

NASA’s InSight Lander is due to put its first scientific instrument on Mars in the coming days. But engineers here on earth already saw that it happened &#821

1; last week.

As NASA’s curiosity movement, InSight has a full-scale work model at the Agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. This sisterland, appropriately named ForeSight, allows the team to test all operations before they happen on Mars.

In order to practice how InSight will place its instruments, JPL engineers built a mardic rock garden modeled on images from spacecraft cameras. The team shaved, shoveled and patted down a crushed grenade bed designed to simulate martinsand. They call the shaping of this gravel-like material “Marsforming”.

A four inch (10 centimeter) shelf layer was added to the labyrinth to match the surface and the height of the surface in front of InSight. By donating elevated reality heads, the team was able to project digital terrain models at the landing site on the test bed, check if they needed to bump more gravel in space or smooth it out. Wooden blocks marked the perimeter of the areas where the seismometer’s seismometer and heat profile could be placed; Precision cameras in the laboratory were used to measure any function they intended to replicate. It took about four hours to mimic every detail, down to a few pebbles or stones larger than an inch (2 centimeters).

Larger rocks present various challenges, both for landers and instruments that it will place on the planet’s surface. The team must ensure that the electrical wire-loaded joints connecting the instruments with the spacecraft will not catch or grind against a sharp stone. Fortunately, a composite image of the workspace released last week showed that the area was smooth and virtually stone free, which makes the job easier than expected.

“It’s good for science we want to do,” says JPL’s Marleen Sundgaard, who heads the test bed work. “It’s the flat parking lot that the landing team promised us. You calculate the likelihood of rocks in the area and hope the odds are for your benefit.”

Odds have been a lot for InSight. “Around us there are rocks thrown out of nearby craters. These can be started miles across the landscape, depending on the stroke size,” says Nate Williams, a JPL postdoctoral researcher working on the mission. “Thank you, there are not many stones just in front of us.”

About 21 meters from the farmer is a field of small stone blocks that would have made Marsforming harder, Williams said. He borrowed his geologist’s eye to work and chose stone samples for the test bed that matched the size, shape and locations of those close to InSight.

By sliding on Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, the team could see a glowing red martian surface with blue contour lines modeled on the actual terrain in front of InSight on Mars. This was a new use of HoloLens for JPL, says Parker Abercrombie of Ops Lab, the JPL Group, which provides this digital modeling. In recent years, researchers with NASA curiosity riders have used HoloLens in conjunction with custom software called OnSight. It lets them “go” on Mars and make decisions about what to study thereafter.

Every bit of extra realism in the lab creates a more reliable test. The team spent this past weekend that ordered every move in ForeSight’s robot arm, which made the seals of the instrument clear of stones. On Monday morning, they had confirmed the science team’s preferred locations: about 5.4 meters (1.6 meters) directly in front of the seismometer seeker. The heat current is placed approximately the same distance from the farmer, but about 1.2 meters to the left of the seismometer.

Commands to put down the InSight seismometer are sent to Mars today. In a few days, Sundgaard and her team are waiting to see the first pictures of their work that are being redesigned on Red Planet.


Explore further:
InSight Mars Lander takes his first self

Provided by:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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