A new NASA probe has installed a seismometer on Mars & # 39; dusty red surface a few weeks after arrival.
"The utilization of the seismometer is as important as the arrival of InSight to Mars"
The robot arm from the InSight probe removed the device from a room and laid it on the ground Wednesday to track the tremors on Mars.
The project manager, Tom Hoffman, described this milestone as "a great Christmas present."
It is the first time that a robot arm has placed a unit as part of an experiment on the Mars surface. The mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will level the seismometer because the ground is easily tilted.
The unit is shaped like a French dome and was placed at a distance of just over 1.6 meters from the front of the stationary probe, the maximum distance the robot arm can reach.
Next month, the InSight arm puts a wind cap over the seismometer and starts another experiment. A calorimeter, called the mill, will limit 5 feet (16 feet) on Mars to measure internal temperatures.
"The utilization of the seismometer is as important as the arrival of InSight to Mars," said Bruce Banerdt, chief researcher for Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. It is necessary to "complete three quarters of our scientific goals".
Banerdt is planning to celebrate with a bottle of champagne the arrival of seismographic measurements.
InSight landed on Mars on November 26