Monday, 23 March 2020 15:47

Percussive maintenance on Mars

By
Percussive maintenance on Mars NASA

If you can't make it work, just lean on it, with a shovel.

Launched in May 2018, the Mars Insight lander arrived on the surface of the planet on November 26th of that year and almost immediately started work by unfolding its solar collectors and deploying instruments. This lander is not mobile - wherever it landed is where it stays. That became something of a problem.

The lander is equipped with a multitude of experiments including the ubiquitous array of cameras along with various weather detectors for temperature, wind, air pressure etc.. The primary tools are three-fold.

  • SEIS looks like a 1m diameter turtle and houses a seismometer under a protective dome. This device measures planetary vibrations causes by Marsquakes, meteor impacts and surface weather events including dust storms. SEIS was placed a metre or two away from the main lander during setup operations.
  • RISE is used to accurately track the location of the lander in order to infer the 'wobble' of the north pole due to the influence of the sun on the orbit. From this, inferences about the size and composition of the planet's core can be made.
  • HP³ is used to measure the temperature of Mars and the heat-flow emanating from the interior as the planet continues to cool. The sensor is driven up to 5m into the surface.

It's HP³ that has a problem. The probe is (very gently) jack-hammered into the soil to achieve the intended measuring depth - drilling was dismissed due to the weight of equipment required to drive the process. The entire structure weighs just 3kg.

For some reason, the soil at the landing site was 'clumpier' than had been observed at other landing sites when digging arms burrowed into the surface. This caused the jackhammer to jam soon after it was deployed. After many attempts over a year aimed at getting it moving again, nothing seemed to work.

Until now.

After extensive testing on an engineering model here on Earth, engineers found that by using the lander's shovel to push down on the probe while it was hammering, progress could be re-started.

There was concern that the shovel may damage the data and power connection cable, but many hours of practice in the simulation gave the team confidence.

This image (from the main on-board camera) shows the shovel pushing on the probe and narrowly avoiding the tether.

Shovel on HP3

Image: NASA

Since the resumption of hammering, the probe seems to have descended another centimetre or so and the team is confident of further progress. In the future, the probe will descend below the surface and the only remaining option will be to fill in the hole behind it and continue to press down it order to assist with downward force.

DIGITAL MARKETING HAS NO SOCIAL DISTANCING OR TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

As part of our Lead Machine Methodology we will help you get more leads, more customers and more business. Let us help you develop your digital marketing campaign

Digital Marketing is ideal in these tough times and it can replace face to face marketing with person to person marketing via the phone conference calls and webinars

Significant opportunity pipelines can be developed and continually topped up with the help of Digital Marketing so that deals can be made and deals can be closed

- Newsletter adverts in dynamic GIF slideshow formats

- News site adverts from small to large sizes also as dynamic GIF slideshow formats

- Guest Editorial - get your message out there and put your CEO in the spotlight

- Promotional News and Content - displayed on the homepage and all pages

- Leverage our proven event promotion methodology - The Lead Machine gets you leads

Contact Andrew our digital campaign designer on 0412 390 000 or via email andrew.matler@itwire.com

CONTACT US!

LAYER 1 ENCRIPTION A KEY TO CYBER-SECURITY SOLUTION

Security requirements such as confidentiality, integrity and authentication have become mandatory in most industries.

Data encryption methods previously used only by military and intelligence services have become common practice in all data transfer networks across all platforms, in all industries where information is sensitive and vital (financial and government institutions, critical infrastructure, data centres, and service providers).

Get the full details on Layer-1 encryption solutions straight from PacketLight’s optical networks experts.

This white paper titled, “When 1% of the Light Equals 100% of the Information” is a must read for anyone within the fiber optics, cybersecurity or related industry sectors.

To access click Download here.

DOWNLOAD!

David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

VENDOR NEWS & EVENTS

REVIEWS

Recent Comments