InSight probe will be engaged in drilling on Mars
InSight probe, created by NASA, prepares to start the scientific phase of its mission. On the website of the space Agency it is said that the lander activated on Mars the second tool that should help scientists to learn more about the interior of the Red planet. We are talking about the design of HP3, which was put very close to the newly mounted seismometer.
What is the reason for InSight probe?
This device is the most important tool that should study the heat flow under the soil of Mars. This device will collect all the data on Earth to analyze them, and scientists will be able to more accurately imagine how the Red planet and through what stages of development it has passed. To some extent, we may even find the ultimate answer to the question of whether there was once life on Mars. To perform all these tasks, the device must dive deep into the ground.
InSight probe will be in charge of drilling to 5 metres in depth is considerably greater than previously obtained with other devices ever functioned in the Red planet. For example, recent modules “Viking-1” and “Phoenix” could drill the surface of the planet only up to 22 cm. When HP3 reaches the specified depth, a “mole” will be placed in the hole – a probe 40 cm long, with a sharp end and a bump, power to it will be supplied through the cable from the lander.
Sensors are mounted in the cable itself, they will take temperature measurements, and the mole will track the heat fluxes. Being underground, these tools will be protected from external temperature influences that can occur due to seasonal or daily fluctuations in the warming of the planet.
One of the developers of InSight probe said that the brainchild was created specifically for the study of temperature in the depths of Mars. Outside there are different temperature fluctuations due to various factors, so the data obtained to date can not be called reference. Therefore, scientists decided to move as deep as possible, where no external factors will interfere.
Dive will be done in phases, penetrating in each step of 50 cm below planet surface. After each stage, scientists want to take a timeout of two days to heat, which is produced by rubbing the drill on the rock, completely dissipated, and did not spoil the readings. After that, in the finished well will be kept at a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius for 24-hour day and study thermal conductivity of Mars. Scientists hope that their drill will not wait for sudden obstacles in the form of large stones. If this time the probe can not penetrate at least 3 meters deep into the planet, then accurate research will take a whole year on Mars, which is equal to two years on Earth.
Engineers are convinced that they have chosen the most suitable place, there are no stones on the surface, which gives hope to believe that in the depths of the soil they will not be either.
It is noteworthy that the probe itself weighs less that a pair of shoes, requires less electricity than a normal home Wi-Fi router. At the same time, it is a way to withstand difficult conditions and thousands of blows.