InSight Mars lander suffers setback
NASA has confirmed that its InSight Mars lander has encountered an issue with a heat flow instrument while attempting to dig into the Martian surface.
The probe is attempting to dig five metres below the surface of the Red Planet, but has suffered a number of setbacks this year in its attempts to do so.
First, the probe became stuck after only digging about a foot below the surface, with NASA engineers forced to spend months on the development of a plan to get it out of the small hole.
They were able to do so by using one of the landers robotic arms to utilise friction from its scoop to dig the probe deeper into the surface.
However, now "unexpected soil properties" have seen InSight being pushed out of the hole, possible due to the hole filling itself back up in front of the probe, because of falling soil.
"We are aware that there is a problem with the mole on @NASAInSight that we have been trying to get into the ground," NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator Dr Thomas Zurbuchen tweeted out.
"We’re analysing the problem and will share what we have tonight and provide more detailed information tomorrow after engineers have analysed the data."
Dr Zurbuchen followed up the tweet to say that the overall mission for InSight is "functioning very well".
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