Experts found out why the drill is stuck Mars Rover, InSight

The engineers of the German centre for aviation and Astronautics (DRL), developed and responsible for drilling the probe HP3 Mars lander InSight found out the reason why the drilling machine got stuck in the course held earlier drilling Martian soil. It turns out that the landing module beneath the surface may be a solid layer of duricrust thickness of about 20 centimeters and is composed of agglomerated particles of sand. According to experts, that’s why the percussion mechanism of the drilling rig HP3 can compensate for recoil in shock, to move deeper. However, scientists have found a way out.

Recall that the launch of the automatic lander InSight was held in may 2018. Before the unit was set the task to explore the internal structure of the red planet and the geological processes occurring in the subsurface. To Mars module reached in November 2018. The landing took place in the highlands area Elysium. In December 2018, and then in February 2019, the module using a robotic arm mounted on the surface of Mars the two main scientific instruments: a drilling probe HP3, which it is planned to conduct measurements of heat flow inside the Martian soil, SEIS seismograph. In February, also became fully operational system APSS on a regular basis to gather information about the weather conditions on the red planet.

All scientific instruments of the mission to present work in a regular mode. “Failed” only the drill module. Its job is to go 3-5 meters under the Martian soil, however, he had suspended his work at a depth of about 30 centimeters. Initially, the mission team suggested that Bur came across a large boulder of solid rock, which could not overcome. It hinted the angle of the drill, which was 15 degrees relative to the vertical axis. This assumption was confirmed in the kind of seismograph of the module, through a series of diagnostic bumps. If this stone was not more than 10 inches, the drill would be able to work around it, to alienate. However, further analysis of the surface at the location of the drilling rig and stones on the surface has forced experts to doubt the fact that the reason is a large stone.

At the moment the team InSight is inclined to the version with droxicam – layer of sand with a thickness of about 20 centimeters, stuck under the influence of chemical reactions. The drill is able to overcome it, but it lacks stability and support. If you just continue to drill, the bore will expand and be filled with debris, which will reduce the efficiency of the rig because it would not be balanced by the return strokes of the drilling device. This version is confirmed by the data obtained by the tool. Experts gather them again to double check, and if confirmed, to help resolve the issue of will 2.4-meter robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Arm), which will help to balance out.

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