Animated view of the mole attempting to burrow into Mars' surface

October 16, 2020

NASA's InSight lander retracted its robotic arm on Oct. 3, 2020, revealing the spot where the self-digging "mole" is attempting to burrow into the planet's surface. Attached to the mole is the copper-colored ribbon, which is laden with temperature sensors designed to measure the heat flow within Mars. In the months to come, the scoop seen on the end of the arm will be used to scrape and tamp down soil on top of the mole, in hopes of helping it dig.

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 provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument to NASA, with the principal investigator at IPGP (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris). Significant contributions for SEIS came from IPGP; the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany; the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland; Imperial College London 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 temperature and wind sensors.




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