HP³ - geophysical experiment to investigate the subsoil of Mars

  • Wärmeflusssonde HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) des DLR zur Messung des Wärmeflusses im Inneren des Mars Wärmeflusssonde HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) des DLR zur Messung des Wärmeflusses im Inneren des Mars

    Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP³)

    DLR is developing the HP³ (heat flow and physical properties package) probe. It will be the first probe after Apollo to measure the heat flow in the subsoil of a terrestrial body. HP³ will be one of the experiments carried by the lander module of NASA's proposed InSight mission scheduled for launch in 2016.

  • Das HP3%2dExperiment des DLR 
Das HP3%2dExperiment des DLR

    DLR's HP3 experiment

    DLR's HP3 experiment uses an electromechanical impact mechanism capable of driving an instrument container into the Martian surface to a depth of up to five metres. Behind the cylindrical drill is a flat cable with thermal sensors. These sensors measure the temperature profile and the heat conductivity of the soil, from which the heat flow can be determined. Until now, a fully-automatic mole of this kind has never been used on any planetary body in our Solar System.

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The flow of heat from the interior of a planet tells us about its structure, composition, and – most importantly – its thermal evolution. Despite the large number of planetary probes on the job already, these investigations are only beginning. Towards this end, DLR is developing the HP³ probe (heat flow and physical properties package). HP³ would be the first probe after Apollo to measure the heat flow in the subsoil of a terrestrial body. It comprises anelectro-mechanical 'mole' that will burrow several metres deep into the soil of Mars, pulling a flat cable with heat sensors after it. These heat sensors will measure the temperature profile and thermal conductivity of the soil, data from which heat flow can be determined. HP³ will be one of the experiments carried by the lander module of NASA's proposed InSight mission scheduled for launch in 2016.

Last modified:
23/08/2012 15:39:49