JPL Engineers rebuild InSight Detector's Mars environment at California Lab – Science Exploration –


All the detectors that NASA sends to the surface of the red planet on a space cruise have a full-size replica that engineers and soil scientists use to plan missions on Earth and then do experiments on Mars. The InSight detector is no exception: it has a full-size replica at the JPL laboratory in Pasadena, California, and even simulates the surface and the Martian environment on the ground.

JPL engineers designed a variety of Martian rock gardens based on images submitted by InSight. The team placed a broken grenade bed to simulate the Mars sand. The layer of simulated Martian soil placed by the team is 4 inches thick. Add solo to the lab to simulate the surface height and tilt of the InSight in the real Mars environment. To make the landscape more suitable, the team used the AR head to project the digital terrain model from the landing site to the laboratory floor. This allows them to put more ground on the ground, making the replica as close as possible to the actual landing site.

It takes about four hours for the JPL team to replicate the landing area for any boulder or rocks larger than an inch. Wooden blocks are used to mark the perimeter of the area where the seismograph and the heat flow probe instrument can be placed. To ensure positioning, precision cameras are used to measure all the functions that the team needs to replicate. As the landing site reproduces itself as perfectly as possible, engineers can now practice placing the instrument on the ground in an ideal position to collect data on Mars. Because the InSight detector is in a rock-free, smooth area on Mars, replicating the surface of Mars is easier than expected.



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