After the good news about InSight’s SEIS, NASA is now facing another difficulties as the lander’s mole, Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), is currently stuck and cannot drill its way into Mars.
The method of hammering between the mole and its holes need enough friction but the instrument just cannot find it on the surface.
Currently, HP3 is stuck at about 35 centimeters (14 inches).
“We’re going to try pressing the side of the scoop against the mole, pinning it to the wall of its hole,” said InSight Deputy Principal Investigator Sue Smrekar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “This might increase friction enough to keep it moving forward when mole hammering resumes.”
I’ve pressed down next to the “mole” several times, and it’s hard to make this unusual soil collapse into the pit. Soon, I’ll be out of contact for a couple of weeks during solar conjunction, but my team on Earth will keep working it. Keep sending good vibes! pic.twitter.com/dbUcnXzYzm
— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) August 16, 2019
InSight sent the tweet. Unfortunately, that did not work.
“We’re asking the arm to punch above its weight,” said Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, the lead arm engineer at JPL. “The arm can’t push the soil the way a person can. This would be easier if it could, but that’s just not the arm we have.”