HP³ - geophysical experiment to investigate the subsoil of Mars

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

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Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP³)

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

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.

DLR's HP3 experiment

Das HP3%2dExperiment des DLR

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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  • NASA selects DLR experiment for InSight mission to Mars
    (http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10212/332_read-4793/)

Links

  • DLR Institute of Planetary Research
    (http://www.dlr.de/pf/en/desktopdefault.aspx)
  • Mission InSight (NASA)
    (http://insight.jpl.nasa.gov/)