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InSight Surface Operations, 26 Nov 2018-
PaulH51
post May 17 2020, 12:31 PM
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Another hammer session takes the mole closer to being flush
Sol 523 IDC camera over about 7 minutes Animated GIF of 9 selected frames.
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PaulH51
post May 24 2020, 08:27 PM
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Sol 530: animation of cropped IDC frames shows the scoop being re-positioned on the end cap of the mole. Recent activities suggest the next hammer session may be on or about May 31, 2020
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PaulH51
post May 30 2020, 08:59 PM
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Hope in troubled times: Sol 536 animation of the latest push on the end cap of the mole, ends with the mole flush with the ground smile.gif
Link to the animation on Streamable
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Phil Stooke
post May 30 2020, 09:44 PM
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Nice to see that! Meanwhile, here is a possible blast from the past...

Attached Image


This picture shows two CTX images of an area about 100 km east of the InSight landing site, the top one taken a couple of months after the landing. The bottom one is from a decade before the landing.

There is a dark spot in the more recent image but not the older image. It is just outside the rim of an oldish crater, and there seems to be a small dark spot within it. The size and location relative to the landing site are broadly similar to the impact of part of the Curiosity cruise stage relative to that landing site:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/mult...a/pia16456.html

Curiosity's cruise stage broke into two large pieces and several smaller pieces, whose impacts were imaged by HiRISE. It is possible that this dark marking is the site of the impact of InSight's cruise stage or part of it. So far these are the only two images of the site that I can find.

No guarantees that this is correct! But other albedo markings in the images are pretty much identical between images. I will get a more detailed analysis out later with properly scaled and processed images.

EDIT: probably a bit too far south, but I don't see anything further north yet.
Another edit: looking at the approach groundtrack, may not be as far off as I thought. This might be it. I have requested a HiRISE image.

Phil


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JRehling
post Jun 1 2020, 07:39 PM
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Nice work, Phil. It looks like a small impactor hit just outside a small, existing crater. There may be some clues there in the way the extremely local topography blocked the blast which could then indicate the direction of the impactor?
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Phil Stooke
post Jun 1 2020, 11:24 PM
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Possibly! I'm looking forward to seeing the HiRISE view of this feature. Ray-like extensions of the dark markings (easily visible for the Curiosity cruise stage) will also help reveal the direction. Additional small impactors would also be of interest, suggesting fragmentation before impact.

Phil



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Quetzalcoatl
post Jun 3 2020, 04:09 PM
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Bonjour,

Finally detailed news of HP3 is given to us by T. Spohn on his blog. Things are progressing favorably... smile.gif

https://www.dlr.de/blogs/en/all-blog-posts/...on-logbook.aspx

From the gif he regularly offers us, Paul had established the right diagnosis

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stevesliva
post Jun 3 2020, 05:41 PM
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QUOTE (Quetzalcoatl @ Jun 3 2020, 12:09 PM) *


This all sounds great! Go mole, go...

QUOTE
Therefore, the next step will be another hammering with the scoop pushing on the back-cap. During that hammering, we expect the scoop to be stopped by the regolith (if it has not been stopped already at the end of the Sol 536 hammering) and we can see whether the Mole is able to dig on its own. We call this the 'free-Mole' test.

Clearly, the Mole was not stopped by a stone as has been suggested

You may recall that our leading theory was that the Mole did not move into the subsurface because the regolith did not provide enough friction to balance the recoil force of the Mole. Although this force is much smaller than the force that drives the Mole forward (five to seven newtons as compared to 900 newtons) it still needs to be provided by the overburden pressure. Calculations that I had discussed earlier in this blog suggest that the friction force will suffice if the Mole is fully buried. Some additional friction can be provided if we use the arm to load the surface, which we will do.

Should the Mole move into the subsurface on its own (albeit being helped somewhat by the regolith push), friction will increase and improve the situation as the Mole moves deeper. When the Mole back cap is at a depth of approximately 20 centimetres, loading the surface will have become ineffective and the regolith push should no longer be necessary. We will then do what we planned to do more than a year ago – command the Mole to hammer to depth.

So, you see, the next step, the free Mole test, will be very exciting. But what if the Mole is just not deep enough in for sufficient friction? We then have two options, either fill the pit to provide more friction and push on the regolith, or use the scoop to push at the back-cap again, but this time with its tip rather than with its flat bottom surface. This would be a somewhat more difficult operation but doable, as the Instrument Deployment Arm (IDA) team thinks.
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centsworth_II
post Jun 4 2020, 12:27 PM
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"...fill the pit to provide more friction and push on the regolith..."

I like this option! Although I hope no further options are necessary. Feeling optimistic!
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PaulH51
post Jun 7 2020, 11:05 PM
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Animated GIF using 11 processed IDC frames: Features a scoop reposition and a hammer session during sol 543.
There was a delay (see time stamps and lighting change) between the scoop being re-positioned and the hammer session, I guess that could be a ground in the loop delay prior to the hammer session? Whatever it was, there was some definite progress, and the mole is now a little deeper (see the movement of the tether) and the front edge of the scoop ended up just below the surface of the regolith. Here's a link to a larger resolution (MP4) version, as the one posted here was reduced to 640x640 to fit the upload limits LINK.
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Explorer1
post Jun 7 2020, 11:45 PM
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I'm wondering about the slack in the tether, will it be long enough to get to operational depth? There's no need to reposition the main structure support assembly again, it will just 'unwind' as intended? It's just this illustration that got me concerned that perhaps they might need the arm to reposition the assembly once more. The science tether and engineering tether are all just one long piece?

Great news otherwise, of course!
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PaulH51
post Jun 8 2020, 12:16 AM
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QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Jun 8 2020, 07:45 AM) *
I'm wondering about the slack in the tether, will it be long enough to get to operational depth? There's no need to reposition the main structure support assembly again, it will just 'unwind' as intended? It's just this illustration that got me concerned that perhaps they might need the arm to reposition the assembly once more. The science tether and engineering tether are all just one long piece?

Great news otherwise, of course!

Repositioning of the HP3 housing over the mole to reduce the possibility of snags / damage to the tether is one of the things the team were considering after the mole starts to make unassisted progress (posted by a team member on Reddit)

I not convinced that the science and engineering tethers are one continuous piece of ribbon as the engineering tether gathers measurement data from the TLM (located inside the housing) and triggers the frangible bolt mechanism that released the mole from the housing are both mounted in the housing, so it's logical that they are separate cables.
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mcaplinger
post Jun 8 2020, 03:10 AM
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QUOTE (PaulH51 @ Jun 7 2020, 04:16 PM) *
I not convinced that the science and engineering tethers are one continuous piece of ribbon...

They are separate. The science tether is the cable that connects to the mole. The engineering tether connects the spacecraft to the support structure. There's a diagram in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_Flow_and...perties_Package


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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PaulH51
post Jun 14 2020, 09:30 PM
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Sol 550 (June 12, 2020) The mole is pushed below the surface with the scoop on the robotic arm.
Here is a link to a simple timelapse of the 17 available IDC frames, the file was too large to upload here, so the link should open the looping animation on a streaming service: LINK

EDIT 2:
They downlinked 2 more IDC frames, so I assembled another animation.
There is strong indication of some 'free mole' penetration 'after' the scoop stops moving .
Note the movement of the science tether throughout the animation. Also note at frame 12 the sand grains in the scoop stop moving as the mole continues down, indicating they are no longer in contact.
If that's correct it's great news indeed.
I'll add another animation if additional IDC images are downlinked.
Here is the link to the 19 frame version LINK

One processed frame from the animation
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Phil Stooke
post Jun 15 2020, 03:14 AM
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That's great! Can the GIF be downloaded? I don't see how at the moment.

Is there a bit of a jump upwards just before the end? - based on the tether movement. The last few frames look like they might be going down-down-up-down-down.

The tether touched the surface on sol 543 and has now lifted up to reveal an impression in the surface.

Phil


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