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Thread: Mars Explorer lands successfully

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    InSight has successfully placed its seismometer on Mars, and the lander has also placed a dust cover on it. It has also placed a sort of hammer drill on it, a "mole". This is to burrow down underneath the soil, to get an idea of the heat flow from Mars's interior. But...

    First 'Mole' on Mars Hits Rocky Snag Beneath the Red Planet's Surface | Space
    InSight Lander's Drill Got Stuck on a Rock During Its First Dig Into Mars
    NASA InSight on Twitter: "Giving my robotic mole a rest for a bit, as it seems to have come up against one or more rocks. While my team works on how best to overcome this obstacle, I’ve got some eclipse science ahead as Mars’ moon Phobos passes in front of the Sun this week: https://t.co/weuioEkrpG"

    Also, Small Satellites That Accompanied InSight Lander to Mars Go Silent But they nevertheless succeeded in their primary mission, of accompanying InSight to Mars and relaying data from the lander to the Earth as it landed.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    NASA hatches plan to solve Mars InSight mole mystery - CNET noting DLR - Blogs - All blog posts - The InSight mission logbook:
    Logbook entry: 22 March 2019

    The Anomaly Response Team today has approved of our way forward. Accordingly, the next steps for HP3 will be:

    Command a TEM-A thermal conductivity measurement today to be executed over the weekend. The measurement takes 24 hours. On Monday, command the diagnostic hammering and image taking I was describing in my previous post to be executed in the afternoon of the next sol on Mars with data being downlinked coming Wednesday. We may then have to take some time to evaluate the data.

    Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed!

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    InSight Update: A Couple More Tiny Quakes and Heat Probe Progress | The Planetary Society
    NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) / Twitter
    DLR - English (@DLR_en) / Twitter

    A lot of stuff on trying to get the "mole" back into action, starting by removing its cover. The mole made a hole about twice its diameter, something surprising to the lander's operators. They are thinking of getting the lander to shovel dirt into that hole, to give the mole's sides more friction.

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Here's an article on Mars Methane that may be of interest;


    ''On Mars, methane production appears to be seasonal in nature, fluctuating from about 0.24 parts per billion (ppb) in the northern hemisphere during winter to about 0.65 ppb during the summer.

    At the same time, extended plumes have been detected which shows that it is also periodically released from discrete regions. On two occasions, the Curiosity rover happened to be in the vicinity of plumes; in December of 2014 and again back in June.''


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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    InSight is continuing to have trouble with its "mole".

    The self-hammering probe on NASA’s Mars lander can’t seem to actually dig into the ground - The Verge
    InSight's 'Mole' Team Peers into the Pit – NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

    Common Questions about InSight's 'Mole' – NASA’s Mars Exploration Program
    Q: Why can't you pick up the 'mole' and move it to another spot?

    A: ... Designed to be housed within the support structure, the mole itself has no grapple point and was not intended to be grasped or moved. ...

    Q: Why doesn't the mole include a drill?

    A: A drill would require a much bigger, more powerful motor than what the InSight lander can accommodate. It would also require more power than the solar-powered lander can practically provide. What's more, a drill would require rigging to stabilize it as the motor spins, just like with a drill press. Rigging cancels out the force of a drill's spin, which would otherwise spin the motor in the other direction. ...

    Q: Are you sure the mole didn't hit a rock?

    A: Most of the team remains confident that a rock didn't cause the mole to rebound. The landing site, Elysium Planitia, was selected partly because it has so few visible rocks, implying few large subsurface rocks. ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Here's an article on Mars Methane that may be of interest;


    ''On Mars, methane production appears to be seasonal in nature, fluctuating from about 0.24 parts per billion (ppb) in the northern hemisphere during winter to about 0.65 ppb during the summer.

    At the same time, extended plumes have been detected which shows that it is also periodically released from discrete regions. On two occasions, the Curiosity rover happened to be in the vicinity of plumes; in December of 2014 and again back in June.''

    Cows, the graphic forgot to add cows.

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Higgins View Post
    Cows, the graphic forgot to add cows.
    Their methane comes from microbes that live in their guts.

    Methanogens do this for their energy:
    CO2 + 4H2 -> CH4 + 2H2O

    The hydrogen in turn is produced by "serpentinization" from hot water and volcanic rocks:
    2FeO + H2O -> Fe2O3 + H2
    where the iron is in the rocks - metal silicates.

    The methane in Mars's atmosphere could be produced by Martian methanogens, or else by some serpentinization-related nonbiological reactions.

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Gilbert Levin is still convinced that the experiment he designed did find life on Mars;

    Quote:

    ''The Labeled Release experiment on the Viking mission reported positive results, although most have dismissed them as inorganic chemical reactions''

    ''This standard test, in essence, was the LR test on Mars, modified by the addition of several nutrients thought to broaden the prospects for success with alien organisms, and the tagging of the nutrients with radioactive carbon. These enhancements made the LR sensitive to the very low microbial populations postulated for Mars, should any be there, and reduced the time for detection of terrestrial microorganisms to about one hour. But on Mars, each LR experiment continued for seven days. A heat control, similar to Pasteur’s, was added to determine whether any response obtained was biological or chemical.

    The Viking LR sought to detect and monitor ongoing metabolism, a very simple and fail-proof indicator of living microorganisms. Several thousand runs were made, both before and after Viking, with terrestrial soils and microbial cultures, both in the laboratory and in extreme natural environments. No false positive or false negative result was ever obtained. This strongly supports the reliability of the LR Mars data, even though their interpretation is debated.''

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