NASA Insight Lander To Help Mars Mole Probe Make A Move


NASA is constantly exploring its options when it comes to excavating planetary materials to accumulate its data. The NASA Insight lander is a good example of the space agency's perseverance. The lander had deployed a burrowing heat probe called the Mole. However, the Mole is quite stuck right now and NASA is trying everything to get it moving.

NASA Mole Probe Stuck On Mars: What Happens Next?

NASA Insight Lander

NASA deployed the Mole back in 2019 with a purpose to dig deep in Mar's surface to keep track of the temperature. The Mole, like its name suggests, was known to pop back on the surface, instead of digging deeper and deeper. NASA said that the unknown soil texture of the red planet could be the reason behind this.

"Rather than being loose and sandlike, as expected, the dirt granules stick together," NASA announced in a release. It means that the Mole is bouncing in place instead of hammering downward. The NASA Insight team posted a GIF on its official Twitter handle that shows the lander setting its scoop on top of the Mole.

NASA Looking For Alternatives

NASA says it has a few alternatives left and has been avoiding pushing the Mole inside using the tether that connects the Mole to the Insight lander. "With few alternatives left, the team has decided to try helping the Mole dig by carefully pressing on its back cap while attempting to avoid the tether," NASA said.

Of course, the operation could take several weeks to test. The Mole probe has been one of the toughest challenges NASA has been dealing with in Mars exploration. The premier space agency is also considering using the scoop on the lander's arm to fill in soil around the Mole. However, that would still depend on how well the push method works out.

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