Seismometer on the surface! Sol 22: Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC)
NASA’s InSight Mars lander acquired this image using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC).
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Landing on Mars on November 26, NASA’s InSight lander has used its robotic arm outfitted with grippers to emplace its Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS, on the Red Planet’s surface.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, the seismometer was gently placed onto the ground directly in front of the lander, about as far away as the arm can reach – 5.367 feet, or 1.636 meters, away).

Credit: IPGP/Manchu/Bureau 21

On the level

In the coming days, the InSight team will work on leveling the French-built seismometer, which is sitting on ground that is tilted 2 to 3 degrees. The first seismometer science data should begin to flow back to Earth after the seismometer is in the right position.

According to a JPL press statement, engineers and scientists at JPL, the French national space agency Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and other institutions affiliated with the SEIS team, will need several additional weeks to make sure the returned data are as clear as possible.

Artist concept showing the protective role of the wind and thermal shield (WTS) at the martian surface.
Credit: IPGP/David Ducros).

Next steps

In early January, engineers expect to command the robotic arm to place the Wind and Thermal Shield over the seismometer to stabilize the environment around the sensors.

By Late January, assuming that no problems crop up, the InSight team plans to deploy the German-provided Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe, or HP3) onto the Martian surface. HP3 will be on the east side of the lander’s work space, roughly the same distance away from the lander as the seismometer.

Sequence of Sol 22: Instrument Context Camera (ICC) shows deployment of seismometer. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Instrument Context Camera (ICC) shows deployment of seismometer. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech







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