Future of InSight’s heat probe dim

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Blocked after drilling down only one foot instead of fifteen, engineers are increasingly worried that they will not be able to get InSight’s heat probe past whatever is blocking to so it can begin getting data of Mars’s inner thermal environment.

They are considering a bunch of options, including using InSight’s robot arm to either give the probe a nudge to help it get past the obstruction, or even use the arm to push the probe.

None of the options are encouraging it seems.



  • Orion314

    The Apollo missions showed how difficult drilling in situ can be. I thought from the first I read of this mission, with no roving capabilities, blind drilling is going to need some pure luck. Nasa/JPL really seemed to pitch this part of the mission as a piece of cake…

  • Jollster

    Agree. Chances of success must have been 50/50 at best. The amount of rock under the surface must be all encompassing

  • wayne

    So…they seriously thought they could go down 15 feet, without encountering a single glitch? I’d like to see the statistical analysis that was made (or not) of this eventuality. Somebody thought it was a great idea and signed off on it, time for them to become famous.
    What is Plan “B” and Plan “C”?

    “You guys are NASA” scene

  • wayne

    Hunt for Red October
    –the relevant clip-

  • MJMJ

    How do we know that there isn’t just a solid layer of bedrock under a thin layer of soil?

  • Charles

    To bad they can’t just pull it back up and move it over a foot.

  • Lee S

    I agree with all of the above…. The most we have checked out Martian soil is a few centimetres… And there is bedrock poking out everywhere…. I presumed this little mole probe would have rock breaking capabilities….
    Has the probe hit bedrock?
    If a pebble can wreck the mission, someone should be held accountable for such a stupid oversight…

  • Ian C.

    Mars2020 will have a Ground Penetrating Radar. Perhaps useful before digging around I guess.

  • Orion314

    Wayne, that Armageddon link you sent should be daily required viewing for anyone in the USG space biz, Tx!

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