Updated at 5 p.m. PDT (8 p.m. EDT) on April 11: InSight’s Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument completed a new round of diagnostic hammering into the Martian surface on March 26, 2019, while the spacecraft’s seismometer listened in. The team working with the heat probe is continuing to analyze seismic data from this test. Based on the time between hammer strikes, scientists may be able to learn something new about what’s obstructing the probe from digging farther underground.
This week, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is busy wrapping up tests at a facility in Bremen, Germany, to better understand the properties of Martian soil. There are many questions about how the soil around InSight compacts or shifts during hammering. In addition to investigating whether the probe has struck a rock or a layer of gravel, scientists are exploring whether this sand isn’t providing enough friction for the probe, also known as “the mole,” to dig down. Find more information about DLR’s recent testing here…. [More at link]