Specialists of the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA could gently squeeze the bucket mounted on the robotic arm of the Mars station InSight, to the back cover drill installation HP3, that should help him begin to move deeper into the soil, it is reported in Twitter of the mission.
More than a year , scientists are trying to resume the installation HP3 (The Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package), delivered to the Mars automatic station InSight. Its purpose was to create in the soil a five-meter hole and to get there train with sensors of conductivity, however, her work was almost immediately discontinued due to the fact that the clutch 40-inch drill with surrounding soil was insufficient to balance the impact with the bumps. This problem has been solve and the drill began gradually to move inland. However, at the end of October 2019, he suddenly half-jumped out of the ground. The experts managed to re-lock the position of installation and the work was resumed, but in mid-January 2020 the drill again began to emerge when working from the ground.
The force of impact of the drill depends on the resistance of the soil, it was observed that the rebound of the drill occurs at almost the same depth. This suggests that the soil around the drill loosened enough that the hand exerted the necessary pressure on him, but next comes the layer of more solid or dense soil. It was decided to move the point of application of force: bucket attached to the end of a 2.4-metre robotic arm, the IDA, which is previously pressed on the ground near the drill, now gently began to put pressure on the rear cover, wherein, within a couple of minutes, the percussion mechanism fired 25 aftershocks. The result is drill a little further into the ground.
Before you press on the drill, a team of engineers to adjust its position to minimize the risk of accidental damage to the ribbon cable used for supplying power and transmitting data, and conducted two experiments with a bucket. It turned out that the hand is able to destroy the wall of the bore and scrape loose sand from the surrounding surface, thereby filling the hole with soil and borax providing the necessary adhesion with him.
The details of the mission and the mysteries of Martian Geology can be read in our materials “Look inside the red planet” and “the Seismograph for Mars”.