JPL: InSight to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars

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Re: InSight Prepares to Take Mars' Temperature

Post by neufer » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:36 pm

bystander wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:14 pm

DLR 'Mole' deployed on surface of Mars
German Aerospace Center (DLR) | 2019 Feb 13
  • Hamlet : Act I, scene V
Ghost: [Beneath] Swear.

HAMLET: Well said, old mole! canst work i' the earth so fast?
  • A worthy pioner! Once more remove, good friends.
HORATIO: O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
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InSight Is the Newest Mars Weather Service

Post by bystander » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:39 pm

InSight Is the Newest Mars Weather Service
NASA | JPL-Caltech | InSight | 2019 Feb 19
No matter how cold your winter has been, it's probably not as chilly as Mars. Check for yourself: Starting today, the public can get a daily weather report from NASA's InSight lander.

This public tool includes stats on temperature, wind and air pressure recorded by InSight. Sunday's weather was typical for the lander's location during late northern winter: a high of 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) and low of -138 degrees Fahrenheit (-95 degrees Celsius), with a top wind speed of 37.8 mph (16.9 m/s) in a southwest direction. The tool was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with partners at Cornell University and Spain's Centro de Astrobiología. JPL leads the InSight mission.

Through a package of sensors called the Auxiliary Payload Subsystem (APSS), InSight will provide more around-the-clock weather information than any previous mission to the Martian surface. The lander records this data during each second of every sol (a Martian day) and sends it to Earth on a daily basis. The spacecraft is designed to continue that operation for at least the next two Earth years, allowing it to study seasonal changes as well.

The tool will be geeky fun for meteorologists while offering everyone who uses it a chance to be transported to another planet. ...

Weather on Mars: Chilly with a chance of ‘dust devils’
Cornell University | 2019 Feb 19
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Re: JPL: InSight to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars

Post by Nitpicker » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:28 am

And InSight is only 4.5 degrees north of the Martian equator, very much in the tropics.

I don't suppose the balmy south-westerly winds would feel like much at this spot (or any spot) on Mars.

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Re: JPL: InSight to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars

Post by neufer » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:30 am

Nitpicker wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:28 am

And InSight is only 4.5 degrees north of the Martian equator, very much in the tropics.

I don't suppose the balmy south-westerly winds would feel like much at this spot (or any spot) on Mars.
As with the Earth, Subtropical winds
"in a southwest direction"

are, in fact, north-easterly Trade winds.
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Re: JPL: InSight to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars

Post by Nitpicker » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:55 am

I did ponder that (and nearly asked the question because of the ambiguous wording in the news article) but decided that the Mars weather service would probably be using the common definition of wind direction:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_direction
Wind direction is reported by the direction from which it originates.
[Did I really need to quote that to you? :) ]

So, I suspect they actually were predominantly SW winds (at least at ground level) on sol 81, and predominantly WNW winds on the sols prior. (Just noticed the news article doesn't match the wind speed table in the weather service report, which doesn't seem to match the graph.)

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Re: JPL: InSight to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars

Post by neufer » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:44 am

Nitpicker wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:55 am

I did ponder that (and nearly asked the question because of the ambiguous wording in the news article) but decided that the Mars weather service would probably be using the common definition of wind direction:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_direction
Wind direction is reported by the direction from which it originates.
[Did I really need to quote that to you? :) ]

So, I suspect they actually were predominantly SW winds (at least at ground level) on sol 81, and predominantly WNW winds on the sols prior. (Just noticed the news article doesn't match the wind speed table in the weather service report, which doesn't seem to match the graph.)
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Wind direction is normally reported by the direction FROM which it originates (since weather vanes point INTO the wind).

However, the report here specifically states that the wind itself blew "IN a southwest direction".

If they were, in fact, SW winds then they should have reported that the wind itself blew "FROM a southwest direction".

[E.g., mid-latitude prevailing WESTERLIES blow in an EAST or EASTWARD direction.]
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Re: JPL: InSight to Take First Look Deep Inside Mars

Post by Nitpicker » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:14 am

I agree. I think the news article incorrectly used "in" instead of "from". The actual weather report -- https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/weather/ -- just says "wind direction", which has probably been misinterpreted by the author of the news article.

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DLR: InSight's "Mole" Starts Hammering into the Martian Soil

Post by bystander » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:06 pm

DLR's HP3 Experiment Starts Hammering into the Martian Soil
German Aerospace Center (DLR) | 2019 Mar 01
On 28 February 2019, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) ‘Mole’ fully automatically hammered its way into the Martian subsurface for the first time. In a first step, it penetrated to a depth between 18 and 50 centimetres into the Martian soil with 4000 hammer blows over a period of four hours. "On its way into the depths, the mole seems to have hit a stone, tilted about 15 degrees and pushed it aside or passed it," reports Tilman Spohn, Principal Investigator of the HP3 experiment. "The Mole then worked its way up against another stone at an advanced depth until the planned four-hour operating time of the first sequence expired. Tests on Earth showed that the rod-shaped penetrometer is able to push smaller stones to the side, which is very time-consuming.

After a cooling-off period, the researchers will command a second four-hour hammering sequence. In the following weeks, with further intervals, they want to reach a target depth of three to five metres on sufficiently porous ground. The Mole will pull a five-metre-long tether equipped with temperature sensors into the Martian soil behind it. The cable is equipped with 14 temperature sensors in order to measure the temperature distribution with depth and its change with time after reaching the target depth and thus the heat flow from the interior of Mars. ...
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InSight

Post by Fred the Cat » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:55 pm

InSight hit something out of sight. Hope they can root out the problem. :(

Like digging post holes. There's always something under the surface you don't expect. :?

Mars Insight’s “Mole” Hits a Snag
Sky & Telescope | 2019 Mar 11
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DLR: Testing the InSight 'Mole' with a Cubic Meter of Mars

Post by bystander » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:42 pm

A cubic metre of Mars
Tests for the InSight 'Mole'

German Aerospace Center (DLR) | 2019 Apr 11

A blue box, a cubic metre of Mars-like sand, a rock, a fully-functional model of the Mars 'Mole' and a seismometer – these are the main components with which the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is simulating the current situation on Mars. After its first hammering operation on 28 February 2019, the DLR Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP³), the Mars Mole, was only able to drive itself about 30 centimetres into the Martian subsurface. DLR planetary researchers and engineers are now analysing how this could have happened and looking into what measures could be taken to remedy the situation. "We are investigating and testing various possible scenarios to find out what led to the 'Mole' stopping," explains Torben Wippermann, Test Leader at the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen. The basis for the scientists' work: some images, temperature data, data from the radiometer and recordings made by the French Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) during a brief hammering test conducted on 26 March 2019.

When the NASA InSight lander arrived on the Martian surface, everything looked even better than expected. Although the lander's camera showed numerous rocks some distance away, the immediate surroundings were free of rocks and debris. The reason why the 'Mole' hammered its way quickly into the ground after being placed on the surface of Mars and was then unable to continue its progress is now being diagnosed remotely. "There are various possible explanations, to which we will have to react differently," says Matthias Grott, a planetary researcher and the HP³ Project Scientist. A possible explanation is that the 'Mole' has created a cavity around itself and is no longer sufficiently constrained by the friction between its body and the surrounding sand. ...
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InSight Detects First Likely 'Quake' on Mars

Post by bystander » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:24 pm

InSight Detects First Likely 'Quake' on Mars
NASA | JPL-Caltech | InSight | 2019 Apr 23
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
NASA's Mars InSight lander has measured and recorded for the first time ever a likely "marsquake."

The faint seismic signal, detected by the lander's Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, was recorded on April 6, the lander's 128th Martian day, or sol. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Scientists still are examining the data to determine the exact cause of the signal. ...

The new seismic event was too small to provide solid data on the Martian interior, which is one of InSight's main objectives. The Martian surface is extremely quiet, allowing SEIS, InSight's specially designed seismometer, to pick up faint rumbles. In contrast, Earth's surface is quivering constantly from seismic noise created by oceans and weather. An event of this size in Southern California would be lost among dozens of tiny crackles that occur every day. ...

First 'Marsquake' Captured by UK Sensors
UK Space Agency | 2019 Apr 23
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InSight Captures Sunrise and Sunset on Mars

Post by bystander » Wed May 01, 2019 4:15 pm

InSight Captures Sunrise and Sunset on Mars
NASA | JPL-Caltech | InSight | 2019 May 01

NASA's InSight lander captured a series of sunrise and sunset images.

A camera on the spacecraft's robotic arm snapped the photos on April 24 and 25, the 145th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. In local Mars time, the shots were taken starting around 5:30 a.m. and then again starting around 6:30 p.m. As a bonus, a camera under the lander's deck also caught clouds drifting across the Martian sky at sunset.

These images are available as both "raw" and color-corrected versions. It's easier to see some details in the raw versions, but the latter more accurately show the images as the human eye would see them. Much farther from Mars than it is from Earth, the Sun appears only about two-thirds the size that it does when viewed from Earth. ...

The first mission to send back such images was the Viking 1 lander, which captured a sunset on Aug. 21, 1976; Viking 2 captured a sunrise on June 14, 1978. Since then, both sunrises and sunsets have been recorded by the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, among other missions.
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InSight's Team Tries New Strategy to Help the 'Mole'

Post by bystander » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:04 pm

InSight's Team Tries New Strategy to Help the 'Mole'
NASA | JPL-Caltech | InSight | 2019 Jun 05
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
InSight: A Plan to Get the Mole Moving Again ~ Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists and engineers have a new plan for getting NASA InSight's heat probe, also known as the "mole," digging again on Mars. Part of an instrument called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), the mole is a self-hammering spike designed to dig as much as 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and record temperature.

But the mole hasn't been able to dig deeper than about 12 inches (30 centimeters) below the Martian surface since Feb. 28, 2019. The device's support structure blocks the lander's cameras from viewing the mole, so the team plans to use InSight's robotic arm to lift the structure out of the way. Depending on what they see, the team might use InSight's robotic arm to help the mole further later this summer. ...

For the last several months, testing and analysis have been conducted at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which leads the InSight mission, and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which provided HP3, to understand what is preventing the mole from digging. Team members now believe the most likely cause is an unexpected lack of friction in the soil around InSight - something very different from soil seen on other parts of Mars. The mole is designed so that loose soil flows around it, adding friction that works against its recoil, allowing it to dig. Without enough friction, it will bounce in place. ...
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InSight Uncovers the 'Mole'

Post by bystander » Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:04 pm

InSight Uncovers the 'Mole'
NASA | JPL-Caltech | InSight | 2019 Jul 01
22590_PIA23308-web[1].gif
On June 28, 2019, NASA's InSight lander used its robotic arm to move the support
structure for its digging instrument, informally called the "mole." This view was
captured by the fisheye Instrument Context Camera under the lander's deck.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Behold the "mole": The heat-sensing spike that NASA's InSight lander deployed on the Martian surface is now visible. Last week, the spacecraft's robotic arm successfully removed the support structure of the mole, which has been unable to dig, and placed it to the side. Getting the structure out of the way gives the mission team a view of the mole — and maybe a way to help it dig.

"We've completed the first step in our plan to save the mole," said Troy Hudson of a scientist and engineer with the InSight mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "We're not done yet. But for the moment, the entire team is elated because we're that much closer to getting the mole moving again."

Part of an instrument called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), the self-hammering mole is designed to dig down as much as 16 feet (5 meters) and take Mars' temperature. But the mole hasn't been able to dig deeper than about 12 inches (30 centimeters), so on Feb. 28, 2019 the team commanded the instrument to stop hammering so that they could determine a path forward.

Scientists and engineers have been conducting tests to save the mole at JPL, which leads the InSight mission, as well as at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which provided HP3. Based on DLR testing, the soil may not provide the kind of friction the mole was designed for. Without friction to balance the recoil from the self-hammering motion, the mole would simply bounce in place rather than dig.
The InSight Mission Logbook
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
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