Together with the site at Koeln, the DLR site at Oberpfaffenhofen is one of Germany's largest research centres. Located near the A96 motorway between Munich and Lindau, the site is home to eight scientific institues and currently employs approximately 1700 people. The research centre's main fields of activity include paricipating in space missions, climate research, research and development in the field of Earth observation, developing navigation systems and advanced robotics development.
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) will command the Mars ‘Mole’ to begin a short new round of hammering at the end of March. The seismometer and the camera will closely monitor the movement of the Mole. The researchers want to analyse in more detail the situation of the self-hammering probe, which has shown no further progress since it reached a depth of approximately 30 centimetres at the beginning of March. Different ideas for releasing the Mole require a more detailed analysis of the situation and at least a few more weeks to test different strategies on Earth.
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, visited the German Aerospace Center (DLR) site in Oberpfaffenhofen on 5 March 2019.
As part of NASA’s InSight mission, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) developed a penetrometer designed to dig three to five metres below the surface of Mars and measure the heat emanating from the planet’s interior.
On 28 February 2019, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) ‘Mole’ fully automatically hammered its way into the Martian subsurface for the first time. In a first step, it penetrated to a depth between 18 and 50 centimetres into the Martian soil with 4000 hammer blows over a period of four hours. "On its way into the depths, the mole seems to have hit a stone, tilted about 15 degrees and pushed it aside or passed it," reports Tilman Spohn, Principal Investigator of the HP3 experiment. "The Mole then worked its way up against another stone at an advanced depth until the planned four-hour operating time of the first sequence expired. Tests on Earth showed that the rod-shaped penetrometer is able to push smaller stones to the side, which is very time-consuming.