LOS ANGELES, June 22 (Xinhua) – NASA InSight's mission team has begun new efforts on Saturday to try to make the InSight heat probe excavate again on Mars, the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.
InSight, a Mars probe designed to study the planet's inner space, uses advanced instruments, such as a seismometer and a heat-flux probe, to collect preliminary data.
The heat probe, also known as "mole," can dig below the Martian surface and measure the heat coming from inside the red planet.
The mole is a self-pounding spike that will dig up to five meters below the surface and record the temperature of Mars.
However, the mole could not dig deeper than 30 cm below the surface of Mars since February 28.
In the coming days, the mission team will increase the support structure of the mole to get a better look at the mole itself. The lift is a three-step process that will take about a week, the InSight team tweeted.
In recent months, scientists have conducted tests and analyzes to understand what prevented the mole from digging. They believe the most likely cause is an unexpected lack of ground friction around InSight. Without enough friction, the mole will jump into place.
"Engineers have worked hard to assess the problem," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's planetary science division. "Moving the support structure will help them gather more information and try at least one possible solution."
InSight landed safely on Mars on November 26 last year on a two-year mission to explore the interior of the planet. Enditem
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