News from May 05, 2018
NASA’s InSight Mission to Mars was successfully launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, USA on May 5th, 2018. As the acronym indicates - Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport - the mission intends to investigate the interior structure and composition as well as the tectonic activity and meteorite impact rate of the Red Planet, to better understand the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets, such as the Earth. The InSight lander is scheduled to reach the ground in Elysium Planitia on Mars on November 26th, 2018. To penetrate the ground, the lander is going to use its Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, short HP3, which was developed by the Department of Landing and Exploratory Technology and the Department of Mechanics and Thermal Systems of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bremen, Germany. On top of its core element, a 'mole' equipped with an active and passive Thermal Measurement Suite (TEM-A and TEM-P), HP3 also includes a combined accelerometer and tiltmeter (ACTIL), whose internal hammering mechanism allows the forward motion into the ground. The thermal probes are attached to a 5m-long flat ribbon cable known as a ‘Science Tether’ that measures the temperature gradient while penetrating into the ground.