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NASA abandons Mars drilling program

NASA abandons Mars drilling program

NASA’s Insight spacecraft successfully landed on Mars in November 2018. – AOES Medialab M.Thiebaut / AP / SIPA

The NASA This Thursday announced the end of work on the machine that is scheduled to dig the planet’s soil Tuesday As a part of Law Mission Insight. The thermal spacecraft, nicknamed the “Mole”, encountered technical problems that led to its conclusion, the US space agency explained. On its website. “One phase ends, another phase begins,” the organization commented on Twitter.

Other aspects of the scientific work have not really been abandoned. The schedule has even been extended by two years to allow them to complete. Insight thus collects information about the nature of the center of the planet and meteorological data using earthquakes and radio waves. However, the drilling and temperature measurements that the machine has to do at a depth of 5 meters will not be carried out.

The ground cannot be drilled

The last attempt at success on this trip was in vain on January 9th. For a year and a half, Insight has not been able to sink into this particular type of soil, which does not provide enough friction for the study to progress there. The situation prevented engineers at NASA. This device is designed to pierce various objects similar to those previously seen on Mars.

The “mole” sank 2 or 3 centimeters, while its measuring instrument could only operate from a depth of three meters. Modifications made by experts to meet the conditions faced from February 28, 2019 are not sufficient. “We have done everything we can to meet this extraordinary challenge,” NASA commented. We will apply what we have learned to future journeys. ”

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