Space

NASA’s Mars Lander Just Had to Hit Itself With a Shovel to Get Unstuck


NASA’s InSight lander, which is currently on the surface of Mars, has faced some unexpected problems during its mission to explore and study the planet.

Namely, a digging probe that was built to burrow beneath the surface like a jackhammer got stuck because Mars’ soil is clumpier than scientists expected, Popular Science reports.

 

After a few failed attempts to get it out, NASA had to get a bit creative. Ultimately, it freed the probe up by giving it a solid thwack with InSight’s shovel.

NASA expected its probe, dubbed “the mole”, to dig its way through sand-like terrain. But because the Martian soil clumped together, the whole apparatus got stuck in place.

Programming InSight’s robotic arm to land down on the mole was a risky, last-resort maneuver, PopSci reports, because it risked damaging fragile power and communication lines that attached nearby.

Thankfully, engineers spent a few months practicing in simulations before they made a real attempt.

With tentative results that the mole is working again, NASA hopes to again task it with burrowing beneath the surface of Mars.

Once it’s down there, it will hopefully be able to complete its research mission: analyzing temperature fluctuations inside the Red Planet in an attempt to understand how similar Mars’ core is to that of Earth.

This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

 





Source link

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Need a Distraction? Watch This Amazing Timelapse of a Baby Horseshoe Crab Moulting
Ocean Creatures Have Been Protecting Us From Millions of Viruses This Entire Time
The Strangest Field of Astronomy You’ve Never Heard Of
New AI System Translates Human Brain Signals Into Text With Up to 97% Accuracy
New Find Contradicts The Theory Earth Mysteriously Lost Oxygen 2 Billion Years Ago

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *