Insight lander - Page 2

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Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 21

PostPosted: March 26, 2019 5:17 PM 

The weather reportage is spotty or partial these weeks, and this news article gives a taste of new science possible with a fixed lander.


One of the observations is a suggestion of possibly lower density at the near surface than 'expected'. No mention as to whether the conditions are relevant to the 'low density' measurement at Gale crater by Curiosity rover, but I am sure the long term assessment will be made.

A couple of quotes from the article,

""There is a quantity that scientists call the thermal inertia," Spohn said. "The quantity depends on the thermal conductivity of the near surface material, its density and its heat capacity." A small value would lead to a bigger observed effect from the brief eclipse, and would suggest low thermal conductivity or a more porous material."

"The cooling is by about 1 degree C and is thus somewhat larger than expected and certainly better than with the most pessimistic estimates (that would have said we will not be able to see it at all)!"

I have used the comments to associate the described thermal conductivity at the surface with the different techniques used by Curiosity, and the source did not make any suggestion of a connection between the two measurements by the two missions.

The source of the quotes was by Tilman Spohn, an instrument lead for InSight from the German space agency DLR,

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 22

PostPosted: March 27, 2019 6:24 PM 

Lack of updated wind speed measurements before they drop from public view on the one week display issued, and no new release of updated MOLE information about the possible attempt to renew a short drill/hammering process.
The area near InSight lander has some interesting features. Ridges, craters with matching rims that appear to be timed with the ridges, and pedestal craters with very shallow rims which appear to be rims possibly below or equal to the pedestal crater floors. Can someone explain to me the topography which is not apparently normal for most of Mars? What is the lander site, near surface flows, compressed with secondary simultaneous impacts, pedestal craters of different timing, or a combination?

I see slight dark dust devil tracks also, from the NW, and none from the SW. Slight troughs in this spot diagonally upper right to lower left.

Ridges here.

Is this long term geology viewed or a short sequence of events?

John Radogno

Posts: 37

Reply: 23

PostPosted: March 27, 2019 9:50 PM 

4,000 hammer blows, that is immpresive.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 24

PostPosted: March 28, 2019 10:58 AM 

Haven't read the March 28, 2019, updates as yet. The story was the short renewed effort to hammer would be studied before continuing. Seeing a 25 degree or greater difference in average temperature during a predominate shifting in wind direction as averaged apparently by a second to second measurement, it seems a challenge to imagine the momentary changes causing the variation. The 'real' weather is not apparent. Without clouds and objects swaying it is much like a Earth based desert scene. A cold morning often looks as formidable as a hot afternoon, but being there gives a taste of real weather.
Nearby craters show rough rims on some craters, and a few small craters show a bright ejecta blanket which is irregular and several diameters larger than the crater rims.
Results of the MOLE testing indicated it can penetrate broken basalt effectively and quickly.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 25

PostPosted: March 31, 2019 11:00 AM 

Sol 117, March 26, -161 degrees low temp. Can that be accurate? What would cool the air or surface that much more than other days? South winds associated as well.
Wind speeds not displayed for days.
The momentary weather must be intriqing...

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 26

PostPosted: April 2, 2019 12:25 PM 

Had some difficulty issuing a reply about the radiometer versus TWINS weather report information. This is as close a link as I can open about the MUSC center link which apparently was open for public observation at some date and timing.

A difference of tens of degrees in measurement between the air and surface would be recorded by the two instrument suites.

I am including a link of the early HiRISE page describing a 'dual' temperature daily pattern found from satellite data, for readers to interpret short daily cycles in the InSight current reports.


Posts: 1195

Reply: 27

PostPosted: April 4, 2019 3:11 PM 

While waiting for added reports on the MOLE instrument, the weather reportage is periodic, and gaps in the displayed daily information may come from attempts to renew activity or take temperature measurements from the MOLE device.
The latest display is a mix of sol 118 to sol 124 information, with gaps in various displays.
The minimums are dropping to -144 degrees F, with the lowest at -161 degrees last week.
This link shows the MRO Mars Climate Sounder results on Nov 18, 2018, at an altitude of 16 miles above the surface of Mars.
The temp of -90 to -140 range at that altitude is far from the surface minimums of -135 to -161 being reported by the InSight lander in current displays. Some seasonal differences may account for some of the difference.


Posts: 1195

Reply: 28

PostPosted: April 19, 2019 4:48 PM


Posts: 1238

Reply: 29

PostPosted: April 22, 2019 1:30 PM 

Good stuff Dana..


Posts: 1195

Reply: 30

PostPosted: April 22, 2019 2:38 PM 

One of my posts has gone missing to this date, but it was just background pages while waiting for an update open to the public. We have been not given InSight main page links to the DLR blog new releases of the short burst of hammering scheduled for the end of March. The blog addition is of April 11, 2019, and this is the 22nd of April.
Below is the link with a detailed assessment of the hammering at the end of March.
There is uncertainty as to what is preventing the MOLE from penetrating the surface. Suggestions that the depth and cohesiveness of the upper foot of 'soil' is responsible seems 'likely' to the team, and I believe that would be the first time we have observed a claim of a thick 'duricrust' to a possible thickness of several inches to a foot or more.
If you read the entry, there are two other suggested reasons for a lack of further progress, held in less estimated probable cause.
I see a very fine particulate accumulation around the MOLE housing 'feet' discs. I also see a stable depth of 'foot' penetration of the surface, but there did appear early on to be a piece of thin duricrust on the rear left 'foot' pad.
The DLR blog entry has an anigif sequence to watch, with the shadows traversing the casing and soil as the gif's are added to the list used. The combined effect shows some motion by the MOLE housing on the soil surface. The blog entry suggests that the MOLE housing has possibly even risen and dropped over time, rising if the mechanism was jammed, and then released and fallen in the short burst test action in the anigif sequence.

The blog entry was by Tilman Spohn

During the weather reports, a drift to a slightly colder set of figures by a few degrees appears to have happened, with windy days associated with slightly colder temperatures and higher pressures.


Posts: 1195

Reply: 31

PostPosted: April 22, 2019 3:06 PM 

Darwin, I cannot see any updating on the topics until after I post a new entry. Your entry was not available to me until after issued mine, and this is a curios addition I thought was worth placing here from the MSL blog at NASA.
On April 12, 2019, at 'Aberlady', the drill shows uplifting of the layer structure in an anigif sequence, at Gale crater, by Curiosity, and the differential cause of motion is a piece of the puzzle for the MOLE housing and hammering MOLE.
If the 'duricrust' was the cause of looseness of the upper soil, would it not be viewable to us as broken material around the fore section of the housing? Where would the suggested 'loose' crust be now if the soil is not re-entering the hole after hammering?
If we are instead viewing a compaction to the sides of the hole, with a denser casing being formed, I could imagine the MOLE might loose forward movement from a lack of downward overall motion, but what would cause a side movement of the 'feet' other than a solid object impeding the MOLE?
The idea of a 'duricrust' of a foot thickness or less surely would be not result in a widened hole without infalling particulates, and no surface breakage or piling up at the surface. Is the description of a 'duricrust' inclusive of loose particulates which are compacted around a force as open pore items forced horizontally to a more dense casing?
I thought we were referring to 'duricrust' as a rigid assembly which is prone to fracture as sections, near the surface as seen in small dune slide views by the rovers.
Possibly I misunderstood some of the assessments being discussed.

The drilling depth for Curiosity is far less than the current MOLE penetration I believe, and it appears to me to be a volume of less total causing the uplifting of solid layers and loose particulates.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 32

PostPosted: April 23, 2019 10:47 AM 

On my laptop, the last three posts are not appearing, so, here is a sol 142 image post showing a very large rock setting under the InSIGHT deck, between the legs. You must look between the legs and arm parts to see the size and solid condition of this object.
The rock sets on the surface, as does the easier to see smaller solid rock in front of the lander deck in prior photos. The two rocks combined may show a very serious problem with the MOLE process if the subsurface is as littered with buried angular solid large rocks.
I assume my prior posts are still present but not 'refresh' viewable to me currently.
Were the team not aware of the underside of the deck until after the newest short hammering of March 27?
It appears this large rock is heavy enough to not move in the retro blasts as did the smaller rock we have viewed between the tethers in front of the lander platform.
Will this require a new approach to a solution?

It has been some time since my last use of this host and coding to post a jpg here, this is coding for a full size image. HTML, which I believe gives a default thumbnail image for the link to a full sized marked copy showing the rock edges seen beneath the deck.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 33

PostPosted: April 23, 2019 1:34 PM 

An interesting lesson in looking at these Mars images is the completely distorted color balance which becomes worse with alterations in a photo editor. This is a crop of the small rock on the lower left corner of the sol 138 image I posted a few hours past, April 23, 2019. This is highly enhanced to show the rock composition which matches the soil small gravel items packed around the large rock under the lander.
Worth a close study, this is apparently what the 'duricrust' texture is.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 34

PostPosted: April 23, 2019 4:51 PM 

Finally have refreshed pages upon posting. Thanks to the mysteries of 'sparky' whoever that thing or person is.
Mistakenly stated that the original image was from sol 142. It was from sol 138.

Cannot do better at the lower left rock yet, this is a view of the central large rock, which seems to have exterior smooth surfaces with unusual color/texture patterns, and, across the upper face a fracture/exposure zone of undulating intrusions, similar apparent shaping as the small rock textures within the intrusion seams or possibly the interior main body of the larger rock.
I thought this altered view was important as now it appears to me that we have a flow with intrusions, breccia sections on the surface, many examples of this complexly textured and shaped material which was semi-liquid, and even a collection of the small gravel/pebbles which show similar patterns, color, and possible extensive erosion or rounding of the small items.
Does this make a complex solid layer? A series of layers and actions giving a very dense hard surface beyond the upper few millimeters?
Some areas look to be compacted, some, 3D erect remnants of a complex assembly which may have been laid down and degraded over time.
They were looking at the evidence, but didn't give us the worst scenario as an assessment. Hope this is not the end of the hammering process. It certainly looks Martian to me once again, in yet an additional spot as in prior locations.
Is this an altered crust, or a complex flow?
Would a soil layer include large smooth rocks with similar inclusions as the porous 'rope' or braided patterned material which is available without eroded overall surfaces?
Does this make a porous deep layer of this material with so many small pieces loose on the viewable surface as blown around by the landing?

This is a large 3X view, 3072x3072, altered in five areas showing a few of the larger rocks in the shaded zone. 10 MB in size. To see any of the images you will have to download them, as much doesn't appear in the frame, and not at the available image size. The DPI is 1747 if viewing appears wrong. Can anyone make good color balanced images of these or the originals?

Original images, credit: NASA/DLR
Altered in XNView

Does anyone know a dentist missing his 'molars' collection jar?

As the MOLE designers claim possibly 10,000 hammer blows, will the material breakup and dig to planned depth?

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 35

PostPosted: April 23, 2019 5:19 PM 

During my posting was a news release about the first few probable Marsquakes, including one estimated to be very likely a quake underground.
April 6, 2019, or sol 128.

Audio version of the signal.

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 36

PostPosted: April 23, 2019 6:18 PM 

The image at reply #33, in three variations of brightness with some saturation.


Posts: 1195

Reply: 37

PostPosted: April 24, 2019 6:49 PM 

This is the best under deck image I can find thus far.

It appears the 'rock' object extends from just below or at the radar deck under the bottom of the instrument deck, to the ground, and is lying directly on the ground surface.
There is some similarity to the object and used hyrdrazine tanks, but they are round even when fallen from orbit around Earth. I have never seen one deformed such as the apparent rock, and even if the undulating 'seam' on the upper side is man-made, the item seems now not to be secured to the instrument deck. The tanks are about 37+ liters each. They are 16" diameter. Without foil covering them they do appear dull and possibly had insulating material around them as well.
Was there another bladder or tank under and inside the landing gear legs?
Are all these items actually dropped from the lander, or, are they Martian rock and gravel?

A page showing the Hydrazine tank types used on the InSIGHT and some other missions.

Certainly the tabbed disk shaped item above the braided object, lower left corner, also on the ground, was a man-made item.

Could a tank fall from the deck, be deformed, rupture outer insulation, and loose layered particles which now appear to be attached to the soil surface? Some of the gravel items appear to be two layer rounded small objects in the direct sunlight to the right and beyond the deck of InSIGHT.
Could the heat shield be penetrated, with debris fallen on the rover, and subsequently shaken to the ground after the landing jolt at a few miles per hour speed?

Is the radar still operational?

Dana Johnson

Posts: 1195

Reply: 38

PostPosted: April 25, 2019 9:08 PM 

Once again, I am seeing only to reply #36. Next time, I'll write down the code that appeared appended to the address which auto-updates.

The current images show a little color glare in addition to the cloud patterns with the instruments in the foreground. The interesting banding patterns in the clouds which follow the horizon remind me of the Pluto images from the pass-by. Are they similar layers or are these lens/glare/flare artifacts? The view is best from the original dark image.
They are apparently imaging to make 'sun at horizon' and 'cloud passage' animated gifs.

My image was altered somewhat.

Original at InSIGHT raw images. Sol 145.

Dust seems to be accumulating on the solar panels and instruments without much 'dust devil' and wind cleaning events. The wind has achieved nearly 40 MPH, with temperature averages varying by 20 degrees on some days.

Image credits, NASA/JPL/Caltech/Lockheed Martin

No public acknowledgement of the large and smaller debris content below the lander deck. With debris on the under deck ICC camera lens, the cloud images have been a little mottled, noticeable in the blue colored cloud sections of the current images.

John Radogno

Posts: 37

Reply: 39

PostPosted: April 26, 2019 11:14 PM 

Dana, Re: #38 This is interesting. It is daylight but there isn't any stark shadows so it looks like a cloudy day. On the other hand the cloudy looking pattern in the sky does over lay the surface area on the top and on the left (zoom in) so it could be an artifact of the camera lens. Maybe it is an unusual combination of both possibilities.


Posts: 1195

Reply: 40

PostPosted: April 28, 2019 12:41 PM 

Ref., the #38 image, I have altered the foreground to make it brighter relative the sky, so I could see the equipment better. The various sequenced images at this viewing angle show sun angle lighting differences in the collection. The animated GIFs will be entertaining when released.
There is considerable sky color tainting of the foreground. I assume it is internal to the camera mechanism looking into the sun.

The weather is finally showing some long trending and shorter 'week' long activity.
I added an eight day to the weather report routinely viewed at the InSIGHT web address. I may be taking too much liberty in the display. The average daily temperature is now swinging 35 degrees F in eight days, both high and low variations from the very stable routine daily pattern. Real weather, but what is the cause and effect regionally? Is this going to swing to the sol 117 extreme of -161 F or more?
The steadily increasing pressure and the association of decreasing winds with the average temperature change which has dropped 35 degrees F, may be a pattern to watch in the Mars winter as short term weather.

Wind direction reversals and possible rotation causes of dust devil wind shear causation with afternoon dropping temperatures possibly? I haven't seen dust devils in images this time of Mars seasons at InSIGHT.
The hourly averages leave us to imagine the actual effects.

There are blue/silver items in the weeks images beyond the solar panels, and one in the MOLE housing image today, very small to the right of the grapple mechanism, x=707, y=184. Sol 146,

The items I see under the lander deck do not appear to be colored as the 'panel release' debris and the small item near the housing. Some added mysteries for yet another Mars mission. The debris items are bright even in the dark evening lighting of the ICC wide angle under deck camera views. Seems we have two sets of items, or, two conditions of lighting and surface coloration cause?
I wonder if they can use these sequenced views to show wind raising dust over time.
Added MOLE housing foot movement also. Still no news on the heat probe.

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