NASA is desperately trying to get its Mars mole digging again
The InSight mission from NASA has met with a huge disappointment. The main object of this disappointment is the Mars mole. This mole is a self-burying instrument that has been designed to insert itself into the Martian surface. It has been developed such that it can hammer itself up to 16 feet into the surface of Mars.
In February 2019, NASA deployed the Mars mole on the surface of the Red Planet. Since then, the mole has not made much progress. The main reason for the failure might be the slippery InSight’s landing site. The InSight mission’s team members have stated that the slippery surface fails to provide the friction required by the mole. Due to lack of friction, the Mars mole is unable to dig itself into the Martian soil.
The InSight team has attempted various tools and techniques over the past year to make the mole move. Repeated efforts have only failed over the past few months.
NASA is now desperately attempting to force the Mars mole into digging, and this time, we hope, its efforts will not be futile.
In an attempt to create the necessary friction, the InSight mission has now been using a robotic arm. The idea is to pin the mole against the side of its burrow using InSight’s robotic arm. This tool is 5.75-foot-long and is going to generate the very-badly-needed friction.
NASA has been running out of ideas in getting the Mars mole moving. The most suitable solution proposed so far is the robotic arm.
In the opinion of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the team plans to command the scoop on InSight’s robotic arm to push down on the Mars mole. The idea is to apply pressure on the top of the mole, which is popularly known as the back cap. This procedure aims at keeping the mole from backing out of the hole on the Martian surface. The mole has twice tried to back out of its hole. The latest technique is to stop the mole from doing just that.
But the most recent strategy has its pros and cons. There is a tether attached to the top of the probe, and it transmits all the data to the InSight lander. This lander, in turn, sends the information to earth. Since any damage to that tether would make the probe entirely useless, the whole process has to be very delicate.
The InSight scientists will work on making the mole move in the right direction in early March 2020. So, we will get to know in a short time about whether their plan is successful or not.