NASA InSight’s Mole Is Back At Digging Into Mars

About seven months ago, NASA InSight’ mole got stuck while digging into the Martian soil. NASA’s engineers struggled to find out how to sort out this problem. As it looks now, they have figured it out, and InSights’s mole is back at digging into Mars.

The NASA InSight’s mission is to explore the interior of the Red Planet. The primary goal is to help scientists learn how Mars formed. Also, InSight would help us understand if Mars is still geologically active.

NASA InSight worked flawlessly until its so-called mole stopped functioning while it was digging into the Martian soil. One week ago, scientists from NASA and German Aerospace Center announced that they still focus on fixing the instrument. According to the latest update from the two agencies, now, the mole is working again.

“Good news from Mars! After 3 cm progress, it appears the DLR ‘Mole’ on NASA InSight was not stopped in its tracks by a rock under the Martian surface but had, in fact, lost friction,” wrote the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on Twitter.

NASA InSight’s Mole Is Back At Digging Into Mars

At first, the engineers attempted to use one of the robot’s arms to push the soil that surrounds the mole’s digging site. This solution did not work out as expected. Recently, NASA and DLR came up with another workaround to help the mole dig once again.

The scientists used the robotic arm of InSight to apply more force on the mole. Luckily, this method worked, and as NASA and DLR reported, the mole is now making progress digging into Mars.

“With an assist from my robotic arm, the mole is digging again! We are just starting this new campaign, and are hopeful we can continue to dig,” NASA InSight that on Twitter.

NASA names this new technique as “pinning.” What it did was to pin the NASA InSight’s mole against the side of the hole to give it more friction so that the instrument can continue its mission of digging into Mars.