A mole appeared on Mars: the InSight mission prepares to drill

A mole appeared on Mars: the InSight mission prepares to drill

The thermal probe InSight, mounted on the Martian surface, captured February 12, 2019

The NASA InSight device successfully deployed the last device - a thermal probe nicknamed “mole”. He plans to dig into the Martian regolith. The tool must drill a surface to a certain depth. Then he will start sending random heat pulses to measure how the temperature inside the Red Planet changes. The obtained data will allow studying the thermal properties of the Martian rock.

This is only one of two parts on the study of the internal state of Mars. The descent vehicle also has an accurate radio system, which is used to determine the level of rocking of the nucleus during rotation. The InSight device has already introduced an ultrasensitive seismometer at a distance of 1 m from the thermal probe. He will trace seismic waves that echo through the interior of the planet, including the waves created by the thermal probe.

Researchers hope to go deeper into the regolith by a 5 m drill. In this case, it will be possible to study not only the rocks heated and cooled by the Sun, but also those rocks that are affected by the inner part of the planet.

During tests on Earth, researchers proved that the “mole” is capable of working around small stones, but a large boulder risks blocking the path, reducing the amount of data collected. If there are no obstacles, then the process will take about 2 months.

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