NASA’s InSight Mars lander acquired this image on December 17, 2018, Sol 20, using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC).
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Progress with the Instrument Deployment Arm (IDA), a two-meter-long robotic arm designed to deploy with the greatest precision and safety possible the mission’s two main instruments, namely the French-built seismometer and the German-provided HP3 heat flow sensor.

ForeSight, a fully functional, full-size model of NASA’s InSight lander, sits in a lab space that has been sculpted to match terrain in front of the real lander on Mars.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPGP

InSight’s seismometer, SEIS, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, is a round, dome-shaped instrument that will sit on the Martian surface and take the “pulse” or seismic vibrations of Mars.


Credit: IPGP/Manchu/Bureau 21


Wind and thermal shield

The SEIS seismometer involves use of a dome-shaped wind and thermal shield (WTS) that protects it from wind and temperature variations.

With the aid of two cameras, InSight operators need to choose a landing site for these two instruments before setting them down using the robotic arm.

The wind and thermal shield (WTS).
Credit: Agence Idé/CNES.

Five-claw gripper

The IDA on the InSight probe will soon lift the SEIS seismometer 64 pound (29 kilograms), the 21 pound (9.5 kilogram) wind and thermal shield and the HP3 penetrator that weighs 7 pounds (3 kilograms).

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




Each device to be placed on the ground is fitted with a “handle” consisting of a rigid rod terminating in a sphere. This is designed so that it can be grasped as easily as possible by the five-claw gripper attached to the IDA.

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