NASA Fixes its Mars Lander by Literally Pushing It

If we ever want to live on Mars, we have to gather as much data as possible about the Red Planet. NASA has sent the Mars InSight lander there to do just that, but it ran into some trouble. The heat probe (aka the ‘mole’) did not manage to dig into the surface of our neighboring planet.

Although the title may sound like a joke, it’s not. Scientists from NASA found a simple and efficient solution to the issue: giving the probe a push with the robotic arm.

It works

An official statement made on Twitter confirms that the simple method works:

A bit of good news from #Mars: our new approach of using the robotic arm to push the mole appears to be working! The teams
are excited to see the images and plan to continue this approach over the next few weeks. đź’Ş #SaveTheMole

The InSight Mars rover was sent towards the Red Planet on May 5, 2018, aboard an Atlas V-401 rocket. It landed successfully at Elysium Planitia on Mars on 26 November 2018. For those who don’t know, this region is located in the Elysium and Aeolis quadrangles, which means a broad plain that straddles the equator of Mars.

Also known as The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport mission, the lander is designed to explore the interior of Mars. InSight is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and manufactured by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Also, a lot of its instruments were built by European agencies.

The idea of literally pushing the probe brings back memories from the Armageddon (1998) movie, when the crew of a spaceship couldn’t launch it until they literally hit it with a randomly found piece of iron. While that was pure Science Fiction, this time it’s reality. Sometimes, that’s all you need in life to succeed: a push.

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