Hey, so, funny story: Remember a few weeks back when NASA said the plan was to make its Mars InSight probe dig deeper into the planet's surface? It was exciting because it meant that the probe would finally be able to go deep enough to fulfill its destiny and return important data from the Red Planet. Well, all that has changed and the InSight team essentially came back first.
Shortly after the InSight lander touched Mars, the self-destructing "mole" probe, which had to be buried within 16 feet of the planet, began to fail. He just couldn't get on the loose Martian soil, and NASA had to come up with a new way to make it work.
For several months, members of the InSight team instructed the robot to remove the roof that covered the probe and then, recently, push down on the soil surrounding the probe entry to give it the grip it needed to push deeper. This plan worked, at least for a while, and the probe was able to use the friction to its advantage and get a little deeper.
But strange things can happen when you're working on other planets, and the next thing NASA knew, Mars was somehow pushing the probe again. It's unclear why this happened, and the NASA InSight team can only offer "unexpected soil properties" as a cause, but that doesn't make the stomach much easier.
The probe is designed to measure heat within the planet and in order to do so it is necessary to dig deep into the surface. Ideally, the probe will reach a depth of at least 1
With the team looking at the next steps, it is not clear whether the probe will really live up to expectations. There was a suggestion that InSight could use its robotic arm to press the tip of the probe to ensure it was pushed deeper, but we would have to wait and see how NASA decides to counter this unfortunate failure .