This image from a camera built into NASA's InSight robotic hardware demonstrates instruments on the deck of a spacecraft. Located on the surface of the highland of Elysius. Photo received on December 4, 2018
New photos from NASA's InSight landing gear on Mars show that his robotic arm is ready to climb. With a length of 2 m, the arm will be able to carry out maneuvers with scientific instruments on the deck of the landing module. She must carefully install them on the surface of Mars in the highlands of Elysius, where InSight landed on November 26th.
But first, the hand uses a camera located on the elbow to photograph the Martian landscape in front of the vehicle. These photos will help members of the mission team determine where to install the seismometer and heat flow sensor - the only tools that were placed by the robot on an alien planet.
The second context camera is below deck. She will also study the working area, although her pictures will not be so picturesque. Although the camera has a protective cover, the dust still managed to get on the lens.
An image of the InSight robotic arm with a bucket over Martian soil. Photo taken December 4, 2018
Accommodation is important, so the team is not in a hurry with actions. It will take 2-3 months to install the tools and calibrate. Over the past 1.5 weeks, engineers have tested spacecraft instruments and systems, ensuring their functionality. For example, the pressure sensor recorded a drop in air pressure, possibly caused by the passage of a dust devil. Together with wind and temperature sensors, it enters an auxiliary payload system for collecting meteorological information. Partial view of the deck on the NASA InSight landing pad located in the Martian highlands of Elysius. Image made December 4, 2018
Engineers do not accelerate events and do not rush. No one is immune from mistakes. Although there are many tests on Earth, it is not a guarantee that everything will go according to plan on another planet. The team wants to be sure that every operation performed will be safe for the system of the device, so security monitors are now being installed.
Scientists have already taken into account the additional time for the deployment of tools and added probable delays that may be caused by errors. The main mission should last 2 years, which will allow to collect a sufficient amount of valuable data from the surface of the Red Planet.