NASA expert Spoon explained in more detail why the Mole Robot mission to Mars was canceled.
This robot was part of the “Insight” of Mars, and it should explore the soil of the Red Planet. However, the robot could not dig further into the ground and could not continue the operation.
Explained Scientific Director of Travel, Tillman Spoon, on Deutschland Fung (audio link). He works at the International Space Science Institute in Bern. Span said the exact reasons why the excavation was so difficult are not yet known.
The Mars robot has to dig five meters into the ground to take temperature measurements. Every step of the device was previously simulated in a laboratory on Earth. The models were positioned as they were on Mars. Span said the test bed was comparable to a sandpit. But the nature of the soil on Mars put different demands on the device. The robot advanced only half a meter. According to the researchers, only one hole at a depth of three meters would have been sufficient. But even that has proven to be an illusion.
This news was broadcast on January 18, 2021 on Deutschlandfunk.
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