DLR: “Mars mole” ends unsuccessful excavation mission


Cologne / Bremen.  The  somewhat unhappy acting “Mars mole” – a drilling robot on the red planet developed in Germany – ends its journey. © www.de24.news

 The  German Aerospace Center (DLR) announced on Thursday evening. “It was planned that he digs five meters deep,” said a spokeswoman. “He won’t do that anymore.”

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 The  “Mars mole”, which was partly developed in Bremen, flew to Mars on board the NASA lander “InSight” and landed in November 2018. © www.de24.news

 The  DLR also describes it as “a kind of self-hammering nail” – with a diameter of 2.7 centimeters. For two years he tried to dig deeper into the ground. Below the surface of Mars, it should measure temperature and heat flux.

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Completely different soil made digging attempts difficult

On the way to the desired depth, however, the “mole” stalled – there was no progress. According to the information, the researchers found, among other things, that the soil in the area was completely different from anything they had seen before.

“We gave everything that was possible. But Mars and our brave mole just didn’t go together, ”said Tilman Spohn from the DLR Institute for Planetary Research, summarizing the end of the digging experiments.

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 The  “mole” had a number of difficulties

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 The  “mole” had difficulties from the start. In the meantime, he was stuck at a depth of 35 centimeters for more than half a year. Only when the lander helped “InSight” with its robotic arm did it go a little further. In October 2019, the drilling robot on Mars took the completely wrong direction. Instead of digging down, the “nail” came up, but was still in the borehole. At that time, despite the difficulties, the researchers still stuck to their goal of getting the “mole” to a depth of three to five meters.

© www.de24.news

 The  “Mars Mole” was partly developed, integrated and tested at the DLR Institute for Space Systems in Bremen. © www.de24.news

 The y also investigated what stopped the mole on Mars.


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Temperature of the uppermost Martian soil layer measured

“This planet is and will remain a difficult neighbor to research,” said Heike Rauer, Director of the DLR Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof. © www.de24.news

 The  “Mole” experiment “HP3” (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) will at least provide temperature measurements of the top layer of the Martian soil. According to the DLR, other scientific projects of the “InSight Mission” should also continue. © www.de24.news

 The se include a seismometer, a radio wave experiment on the nature of the core of the planet and weather sensors.

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DLR Mars mole ends unsuccessful excavation mission


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