NASA announced on Thursday that the end of the machine’s mission was programmed to dig up the soil of Mars as part of the Insight mission. The US investigative agency reported on its website that the thermal investigation named “mole” encountered technical difficulties, which led to the decision. “One phase ends, another begins,” the organization also commented on Twitter.
One phase ends, and the other begins…
Last weekend, the mole made a final attempt to dig underground on Mars. Even with all the steps we took #SaveTheMole, It seems that this soil simply does not have enough friction to keep it moving downward. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/ZevtiAvS36
– NASA Insight (@NASAInSight) 14 January 2021
Other aspects of the scientific mission are not really left out. The schedule has been extended for two years to allow them to complete. Thus Insight will collect information on earthquake using radio waves as well as meteorological data on the nature of the planet’s core. However, drilling and temperature readings that would take the machine to a depth of 5 m were not performed.
Can’t drill the ground
The last attempt to succeed in this part of the mission was made in vain on 9 January. For a year and a half, Insight has not been able to submerge in this particular type of soil, which does not provide enough friction to probe for progress there. The situation baffled engineers at NASA. The device was designed to drill various materials previously seen on Mars.
The “mole” sank 2 or 3 centimeters, while its measuring equipment can only operate from three meters deep. The amendments made by the experts were not sufficient to suit the circumstances faced from February 28, 2019. “We have done everything in our power to meet this extraordinary challenge,” NASA commented. We will use what we have learned in future missions. “