InSight's Mole Comes to Rest
The "mole," a heat probe that traveled to Mars aboard NASA's InSight lander, as it looked after hammering on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, the 754th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Since Feb. 28, 2019, the probe has been attempting to burrow into the Martian surface to take the planet's internal temperature. But the sand's unexpected tendency to clump deprived the spike-like mole of the friction it needs to hammer itself to a sufficient depth. On Jan. 9, with no progress, the team called an end to their efforts.
JPL manages InSight for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.
A number of European partners, including France's Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain's Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.
For more information about the mission, go to https://mars.nasa.gov/insight.