Raumfahrt - InSight Mars Lander Mission Update-9


InSight lander completes seismometer deployment on Mars


NASA’s InSight lander has placed a protective enclosure over a French-developed seismometer designed to detect tremors on Mars, completing the deployment of the first of two science instruments delivered to the Red Planet in November.

Using its nearly 8-foot-long (2.4-meter) robotic arm, InSight followed commands beamed up from Earth to cover the seismometer package with a dome-shaped wind and thermal shield Saturday.

The milestone follows weeks of leveling and cable adjustments since InSight’s robot arm picked up the seismometer itself from the lander’s deck and placed it on a rock-free portion of the Martian surface that was within reach of the stationary lander.

The shield will ensure winds and temperature swings do not affect the sensors inside the seismometer instrument. Without the added protection, winds could add “noise” to the instrument’s measurements, making it harder to discern when it registers a quake on Mars, scientists said.

Ringed with a thermal barrier and chain mail around the bottom, the wind and thermal shield will also moderate temperatures inside the instrument. Scientists were concerned warming and cooling trends might expand and contract metal springs and other parts inside the instrument, according to NASA.

“Temperature is one of our biggest bugaboos,” said Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, principal investigator for the InSight mission. “Think of the shield as putting a cozy over your food on a table. It keeps SEIS from warming up too much during the day or cooling off too much at night. In general, we want to keep the temperature as steady as possible.”0e8f8436-9c24-42e6-bf30-99d0372d044c

Diagram of InSight’s seismometer package. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Temperatures measured by InSight since its Nov. 26 landing on Mars fluctuate by about 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or 94 degrees Celsius, over the course of a Martian day, or sol, NASA said in a statement.

InSight braked to a rocket-assisted landing at Elysium Planitia, a broad equatorial plain.

The seismometer instrument was provided by the French space agency, CNES, and its development was led by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. JPL built the wind and thermal shield, and leads the overall InSight mission.

The seismometer package was designed with several layers of insulation against temperature changes on Mars. When some parts inside expand and contract, others are designed to do so in the opposite direction to counteract the effects of the changes, according to NASA. The seismic sensors themselves are encased within a vacuum-sealed titanium sphere, which is then overlaid with a hexagonal copper container with honeycomb cells that trap air and keep it from moving.

“Mars provides an excellent gas for this insulation: Its thin atmosphere is primarily composed of carbon dioxide, which at low pressure is especially slow to conduct heat,” NASA said in a statement.

The instrument contains three sets of seismic sensors at its core, which was placed on the surface Dec. 19.

Scientists will also monitor weather conditions, including winds and temperatures, with a meteorological station carried aboard inSight. The weather information can be applied to seismic measurements to filter out data that might have been corrupted by environmental conditions.


A camera on the elbow of InSight’s robotic arm captured 11 images stitched together to create this self-portrait in December. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Next up for InSight will be the deployment of the mission’s other main instrument: the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3.

HP3 was developed by DLR, the German space agency, and is scheduled to be transferred from InSight’s instrument deck to the Martian surface with the robot arm next week.

The heat probe consists of a mechanized mole that will dig into the Martian crust to a depth of up to 16 feet, or 5 meters, deeper than any previous Mars mission has reached.

The mole is expected to take around six weeks to reach that depth with roughly 10,000 individual mechanical hammer blows, accounting for several planned pauses to allow the instrument to record thermal conductivity measurements.

The underground probe will measure the heat coming from Mars’s interior, providing information for scientists to study the planet’s internal structure.

Combining the heat probe and the seismic results — which will also tell scientists about layers inside Mars — Banerdt’s team seeks to examine how the rocky planets formed in the ancient solar system, providing a comparison for what geologists already know about Earth.

The procedures to place the instruments on the Martian surface represent a first in the exploration of Mars. While previous NASA missions have used rovers to drive around the Red Planet, none before InSight have physically placed payloads into permanent positions directly on the surface.

The seismometer and heat probe will transmit their readings back to InSight through umbilical cables. The lander will then beam the data back to Earth through communications relay orbiters flying overhead.

“I liken it to … playing that “Claw” game at a carnival, but you’re doing it with a really, really valuable prize, and you’re doing it blindfolded, where you can only take occasional pictures, and then you’re doing it via remote control on another planet,” said Elizabeth Barrett, InSight instrument operations lead at JPL, describing the carefully-choreographed procedure to move the instruments to the Martian surface.

“It takes a little bit longer,” she said. “You need take more pauses to make sure you actually have the grapple of the payload before you lift it up, and it’s actually on the ground before you let it go.”

Engineers created a mock-up of the lander, the instruments and the surrounding environment in a lab at JPL to simulate the instrument deployment procedures before executing them on Mars.

“Sensitive is really an understatement,” Banerdt said of the seismometer. “It’s an exquisitely sensitive device for measuring the motion of the ground. And when we talk about motion, we’re talking about vibrations that have an amplitude comparable to the size of an atom.

“These are waves that were generated, maybe, by a marsquake on the other side of the planet, have traveled all the way through the planet, getting their waveform modified as they go through the planet and picking up information about the deep interior structure, and then we are able to pick it up when it comes back up to the surface under the seismometer,” Banerdt said before InSight’s launch last May.

The seismic sensors aboard InSight evolved from mission concepts in the 1990s and 2000s that would have dispatched multiple small probes to Mars, creating a global geophysical network. InSight will give scientists just one seismic station, but experts have developed techniques to glean information about the interior of Mars, even with a single seismometer.

Researchers have attempted seismic detections on Mars before, but seismometers on NASA’s Viking landers in the 1970s provided inconclusive results. The instruments were mounted the decks of the landers, making them susceptible from interference from spacecraft vibrations and winds.

That’s where the wind and thermal enclosure deployed Saturday comes in.

“Not only do you have to have a very sensitive device for measuring those motions but you have to protect it from everything else that might affect it,” Banerdt said. “We have several different layers of protection, it’s sort of like a Russian doll.”

Once the instruments are deployed and operational, the InSight science mission is planned to last one Martian year, or roughly two Earth years.

Quelle: SN


InSight's Seismometer Now Has a Cozy Shelter on Mars


NASA's InSight lander deployed its Wind and Thermal Shield on Feb. 2 (Sol 66). The shield covers InSight's seismometer, which was set down onto the Martian surface on Dec. 19.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


For the past several weeks, NASA's InSight lander has been making adjustments to the seismometer it set on the Martian surface on Dec. 19. Now it's reached another milestone by placing a domed shield over the seismometer to help the instrument collect accurate data. The seismometer will give scientists their first look at the deep interior of the Red Planet, helping them understand how it and other rocky planets are formed.

The Wind and Thermal Shield helps protect the supersensitive instrument from being shaken by passing winds, which can add "noise" to its data. The dome's aerodynamic shape causes the wind to press it toward the planet's surface, ensuring it won't flip over. A skirt made of chain mail and thermal blankets rings the bottom, allowing it to settle easily over any rocks, though there are few at InSight's location.

An even bigger concern for InSight's seismometer - called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) - is temperature change, which can expand and contract metal springs and other parts inside the seismometer. Where InSight landed, temperatures fluctuate by about 170 degrees Fahrenheit (94 degrees Celsius) over the course of a Martian day, or sol.

"Temperature is one of our biggest bugaboos," said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL leads the InSight mission and built the Wind and Thermal Shield. "Think of the shield as putting a cozy over your food on a table. It keeps SEIS from warming up too much during the day or cooling off too much at night. In general, we want to keep the temperature as steady as possible."

On Earth, seismometers are often buried about four feet (1.2 meters) underground in vaults, which helps keep the temperature stable. InSight can't build a vault on Mars, so the mission relies on several measures to protect its seismometer. The shield is the first line of defense.

A second line of defense is SEIS itself, which is specially engineered to correct for wild temperature swings on the Martian surface. The seismometer was built so that as some parts expand and contract, others do so in the opposite direction to partially cancel those effects. Additionally, the instrument is vacuum-sealed in a titanium sphere that insulates its sensitive insides and reduces the influence of temperature.

But even that isn't quite enough. The sphere is enclosed within yet another insulating container - a copper-colored hexagonal box visible during SEIS's deployment. The walls of this box are honeycombed with cells that trap air and keep it from moving. Mars provides an excellent gas for this insulation: Its thin atmosphere is primarily composed of carbon dioxide, which at low pressure is especially slow to conduct heat.

With these three insulating barriers, SEIS is well-protected from thermal "noise" seeping into the data and masking the seismic waves that InSight's team wants to study. Finally, most additional interference from the Martian environment can be detected by InSight's weather sensors, then filtered out by mission scientists.

With the seismometer on the ground and covered, InSight's team is readying for its next step: deploying the heat flow probe, called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), onto the Martian surface. That's expected to happen next week.

About InSight


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 and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Zurich, 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 wind sensors.

Quelle: NASA


Update: 11.02.2019



Sol 73: Instrument Context Camera (ICC)

NASA's InSight Mars lander acquired this image of the area in front of the lander using its lander-mounted, Instrument Context Camera (ICC).

This image was acquired on February 9, 2019, Sol 73 of the InSight mission where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 13:43:06.903 PM. Each ICC image has a field of view of 124 x 124 degrees.


Sol 73: Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC)

NASA's InSight Mars lander acquired this image using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC).

This image was acquired on February 9, 2019, Sol 73 where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 14:03:06.915 PM. Each IDC image has a field of view of 45 x 45 degrees.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Sol 73: Instrument Context Camera (ICC)

NASA's InSight Mars lander acquired this image of the area in front of the lander using its lander-mounted, Instrument Context Camera (ICC).

This image was acquired on February 9, 2019, Sol 73 of the InSight mission where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 14:13:24.926 PM. Each ICC image has a field of view of 124 x 124 degrees.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Sol 73: Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC)

NASA's InSight Mars lander acquired this image using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC).

This image was acquired on February 9, 2019, Sol 73 where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 14:40:02.996 PM. Each IDC image has a field of view of 45 x 45 degrees.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Sol 74: Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC)

NASA's InSight Mars lander acquired this image using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC).

This image was acquired on February 10, 2019, Sol 74 where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 15:03:18.538 PM. Each IDC image has a field of view of 45 x 45 degrees.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Quelle: NASA


Update: 12.02.2019


NASA Spies InSight Mars Lander from Space as It Hunts Marsquakes (Photos)


On the left are photographs taken by the Mars InSight lander: of its completely deployed seismometer at the top and of its seismometer instrument before deployment at the bottom. On the right are images captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing the InSight lander on the Martian surface

NASA's InSight lander has been busy on Mars preparing to begin scientific observations, and the mission passed another milestone this weekend, when the spacecraft began preparing to deploy its final instrument.

That instrument is the heat probe, which, if all goes well, will drill itself about 16 feet (5 meters) into Mars over the course of about two months. The deployment process, like that for the lander's seismometer, relies on the grapple-like claw at the end of InSight's robotic arm. As of yesterday (Feb. 10), the claw is grasping the heat probe in preparation for deployment. 

As the probe burrows into the Martian soil, it will take measurements of how heat flows throughout the planet. That should help scientists understand the properties of Martian regolith.

The heat probe will follow its predecessor, the seismometer instrument that will track seismic waves through the interior Mars to try to map its structure. Scientists believe the planet is home to so-called marsquakes, which would create such waves, but the seismometer will also register echoes from meteorite impacts and from the heat probe itself during its drilling process.

Scientists have images of the seismometer not only taken by the lander itself, but also as spotted by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the planet since March 2006. One of the instruments on board is a camera called HiRISE, which is able to capture detailed images of the Red Planet's surface.

Those images are so detailed that the polygonal solar panels of the lander itself, as well as the white spot of the seismometer's white protective cover, are visible.

Quelle: SC


InSight - Erkundung des Mars-Inneren

Mit der NASA-Landesonde InSight startete am 5. Mai 2018 eine Mission, die mit geophysikalischen Messungen direkt auf der Marsoberfläche den inneren Aufbau und den Wärmehaushalt des Planeten erkunden wird. Das Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) hat mit dem Instrument HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) ein Experiment zu dieser Mission beigesteuert. Am 26. November 2018 ist InSight nördlich des Äquators in der Ebene Elysium Planitia gelandet. Nach einer Testphase kann mit den Experimenten nach der Jahreswende 2018/19 begonnen werden. Die Missionsdauer ist zunächst auf ein Marsjahr festgelegt, das entspricht zwei Erdenjahren.

Es ist das erste Mal seit der Astronautenmission Apollo 17 im Jahr 1972, dass Wärmeflussmessungen mit einem Bohrmechanismus auf einem anderen Himmelskörper durchgeführt werden. Hauptziel des Experiments ist es, aus den Messungen des Wärmeflusses unter der Oberfläche den thermischen Zustand des Marsinneren ableiten zu können. Mit Hilfe der Daten können Modelle der Entwicklung des Mars, seiner chemischen Zusammensetzung und auch des inneren Aufbaus überprüft werden. Aus den Messungen auf dem Mars können auch Schlüsse für die frühe Entwicklung der Erde gezogen werden.

Verfolgen Sie (ab Mitte Februar) live in unserem virtuellen Kontrollraum, wie tief der "Marsmaulwurf" schon gekommen ist:




InSight: NASA-Mission zur Erforschung terrestrischer Planeten
Auch wenn der Mars das Ziel der InSight-Mission ist, so geht es doch im Kern nicht nur um die Erforschung des Roten Planeten. Vielmehr wollen die Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler einen Beitrag zur Erforschung terrestrischer Planeten im Allgemeinen leisten. Terrestrisch bedeutet in diesem Fall, dass es sich um Gesteinsplaneten handelt, die aus einem Eisenkern, einem Gesteinsmantel sowie einer chemisch differenzierten Kruste aufgebaut sind. Der Mars ist hierfür ein ideales Missionsziel, da er in seiner Geschichte genau das richtige Maß an Aktivität entwickelt hat: Einerseits ist er groß genug, um Prozesse wie Vulkanismus und Tektonik zu entwickeln, andererseits ist er klein genug, um die Spuren dieser Aktivität über Jahrmilliarden zu erhalten.
Aus diesem Grund hat sich die NASA im Rahmen ihres Discovery-Programms entschieden, InSight für einen Start zum Mars auszuwählen. Schließlich hob InSight am 5. Mai 2018 um 5.05 Uhr Ortszeit an Bord einer Atlas-Trägerrakete von der Vandenberg Air Force Base an der kalifornischen Pazifkküste ab. (*). Nach einer halbjährigen Reise durch das All - hat der InSight Lander am 26. November 2018 auf dem Mars aufgesetzt.

InSight ist die erste Mission, die den Fokus auf die geophysikalische Erkundung des Sonnensystems legt. Ihre Instrumentierung ist für die Planetenforschung ungewöhnlich: Ein Seismometer sowie eine Wärmeflusssonde. Das Seismometer (*), das vom Institut de Physique de Globe de Paris (IPGP) in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Imperial College London, der ETH Zürich sowie dem Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung gebaut wird, soll die innere Struktur des Planeten sowie die Größe seines Kerns bestimmen. Die Wärmeflusssonde (*), die unter Leitung des DLR-Instituts für Planetenforschung in Berlin mit dem DLR-Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme in Bremen und mit dem Institut für Weltraumforschung in Warschau gebaut wird, soll hingegen die Temperaturverteilung im Inneren des Planeten bestimmen, woraus Rückschlüsse auf die chemische Zusammensetzung und Aktivität des Planeten gezogen werden können. Somit werden zum ersten Mal direkte Messungen dieser fundamentalen planetaren Kenngrößen möglich, die bisher nur aus Gravitationsfeldmessungen indirekt abgeleitet werden konnten.

Um den Wärmefluss eines Planeten bestimmen zu können, muss der Temperaturgradient im Untergrund gemessen werden. Die Astronauten von Apollo 17 nutzten 1972 hierfür Schlagbohrer, mit denen Bohrlöcher von bis zu drei Meter Tiefe in den Mond-Grund getrieben wurden. Aufgrund des störenden Einflusses der Marsatmosphäre ist diese Tiefe für InSight nicht ausreichend. Deshalb soll das vom DLR gebaute Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package – kurz HP³ – Temperatursensoren bis in eine Tiefe von fünf Metern bringen – keine leichte Aufgabe. HP³ nutzt hierfür einen sogenannten elektromechanischen „Maulwurf“, der aus einem mechanischen Schlagmechanismus besteht und die Sensoren in Millimeterschritten in den Boden treibt.
Zur Unterstützung der Wärmeflussmessung besitzt HP³ des Weiteren ein Radiometer, das die Oberflächentemperatur an der Landestelle überwacht. Aus den Daten der Oberflächentemperatur sowie den Temperaturen im Untergrund werden die DLR-Wissenschaftler dann den planetaren Wärmefluss ableiten.
Der Betrieb von HP³ wird im Kontrollzentrum MUSC des DLR in Köln koordiniert werden.

InSight ist bereits die zwölfte Mission im Discovery-Programm der NASA, das sich durch kosteneffiziente Projekte mit einem vergleichsweise geringen Budget von rund 500 Millionen US-Dollar auszeichnet. Markenzeichen der Discovery-Missionen ist die starke Fokussierung auf bestimmte wissenschaftliche Fragestellungen. Geleitet wird die Mission von Dr. Bruce Banerdt vom Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), einem der renommiertesten amerikanischen Marsforscher. Neben dem DLR ist auch die französische Weltraumorganisation CNES beteiligt.


Quelle: DLR


Update: 20.02.2019


InSight is the Newest Mars weather service


The white east- and west-facing booms - called Temperature and Wind for InSight, or TWINS - on the deck of NASA's InSight lander belong to its suite of weather sensors.

No matter how cold your winter has been, it's probably not as chilly as Mars. Check for yourself: Starting today, the public can get a daily weather report from NASA's InSight lander.

This public tool includes stats on temperature, wind and air pressure recorded by InSight. Sunday's weather was typical for the lander's location during late northern winter: a high of 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) and low of -138 degrees Fahrenheit (-95 degrees Celsius), with a top wind speed of 37.8 mph (16.9 m/s) in a southwest direction. The tool was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with partners at Cornell University and Spain's Centro de Astrobiologia. JPL leads the InSight mission.

Through a package of sensors called the Auxiliary Payload Subsystem (APSS), InSight will provide more around-the-clock weather information than any previous mission to the Martian surface. The lander records this data during each second of every sol (a Martian day) and sends it to Earth on a daily basis. The spacecraft is designed to continue that operation for at least the next two Earth years, allowing it to study seasonal changes as well.

The tool will be geeky fun for meteorologists while offering everyone who uses it a chance to be transported to another planet.

"It gives you the sense of visiting an alien place," said Don Banfield of Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, who leads InSight's weather science. "Mars has familiar atmospheric phenomena that are still quite different than those on Earth."

Constantly collecting weather data allows scientists to detect sources of "noise" that could influence readings from the lander's seismometer and heat flow probe, its main instruments. Both are affected by Mars' extreme temperature swings. The seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), is sensitive to air pressure changes and wind, which create movements that could mask actual marsquakes.

"APSS will help us filter out environmental noise in the seismic data and know when we're seeing a marsquake and when we aren't," Banfield said. "By operating continuously, we'll also see a more detailed view of the weather than most surface missions, which usually collect data only intermittently throughout a sol."

APSS includes an air pressure sensor inside the lander and two air temperature and wind sensors on the lander's deck. Under the edge of the deck is a magnetometer, provided by UCLA, which will measure changes in the local magnetic field that could also influence SEIS. It is the first magnetometer ever placed on the surface of another planet.

InSight will provide a unique data set that will complement the weather measurements of other active missions, including NASA's Curiosity rover and orbiters circling the planet. InSight's air temperature and wind sensors are actually refurbished spares originally built for Curiosity's Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS). These two east- and west-facing booms sit on the lander's deck and are calledTemperature and Wind for InSight (TWINS), provided by Spain's Centro de Astrobiologia.

TWINS will be used to tell the team when strong winds could interfere with small seismic signals. But it could also be used, along with InSight's cameras, to study how much dust and sand blow around. Scientists don't know how much wind it takes to lift dust in Mars' thin atmosphere, which affects dune formation and dust storms - including planet-encircling dust storms like the one that occurred last year, effectively ending the Opportunity rover's mission.

APSS will also help the mission team learn about dust devils that have left streaks on the planet's surface. Dust devils are essentially low-pressure whirlwinds, so InSight's air pressure sensor can detect when one is near. It's highly sensitive - 10 times more so than equipment on the Viking and Pathfinder landers - enabling the team to study dust devils from hundreds of feet (dozens of meters) away.

"Our data has already shown there are a lot of dust devils at our location," Banfield said. "Having such a sensitive pressure sensor lets us see more of them passing by."

Quelle: SD