Space Claw on NASA’s Insight Mars – will drop science packages onto red planet

Space Claw on NASA's Insight Mars
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Space Claw on NASA’s Insight Mars.  Crazy Engineering describes the gripping mechanisms.  Will land 26 November 2018 

When NASA’s InSight lands on Mars, it will be the first mission on another planet to use a robotic arm. This is to grasp instruments and place them on the surface. While it may look like an arcade machine, this space claw is designed to come away with a prize every time.

These instruments will help scientists study the deep interior of Mars for the first time.

NASA’s InSight lander was launched 5 May 2018 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  Insight slated to arrive on Mars Nov. 26, 2018.  The journey is about 301 million miles (485 million kilometers)

If you’ve ever played the claw machine at an arcade, you know how hard it can be to manoeuvre the metal “hand” to pick up a prize. Imagine trying to play that game when the claw is on Mars.  The objects are far more fragile than a stuffed bear.  All you have is a stitched-together panorama of the environment you’re working in.

InSight’s robotic arm will pick up two sensitive science packages from the spacecraft deck and gently lower them to Mars surface. One the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, which will assess Mars’ interior energy.  Plus the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, which will study vibrations of the ground set off by mars-quakes and meteorite impacts.

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