Skip to main content

Robotic Deployment and Installation of Payloads on Planetary Surface

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Handbook of Space Resources


The InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission is a Discovery Program lander to investigate the internal structure of Mars and the differentiation of the terrestrial planets (Banerdt et al. in Space Sci Rev 215:22 2018). The InSight flight system is a close copy of the Mars Phoenix Lander and comprises a lander, cruise stage, heatshield and backshell. The InSight science payload includes a seismometer, a wind and thermal shield, a heat flow probe and a precision tracking system to measure the size and state of the core, mantle and crust of Mars. InSight is NASA’s first successful precision robotics instrument placement and release on another astronomical body since Apollo. This operations breakthrough enabled NASA’s InSight lander to detect a ‘marsquake’, a faint trembling of Mars’s surface on 6 April 2019, 128 Martian days after its landing on Mars. This is the first quake detected on an astronomical body other than Earth or the Moon. This chapter describes the operations of the robotics instrument deployment systems (IDS) that successfully deployed the InSight science payload to the surface of Mars, and the planning and command sequence generation process used for its successful deployment. Among its recommendations, the chapter identifies technology gaps in the operations of in-situ manipulators for planetary exploration.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 349.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 299.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 449.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Abarca, H., et al. 2018. Image and data processing for InSight lander operations and science. Space Science Reviews 215: 22 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bailey, P., et al. 2020. Deployed instrument monocular localization on the InSight Mars lander. In IEEE aerospace conference, pp. 1–13. Big Sky, MT, USA 2020.

  • Banerdt, W.B., et al. 2018. The InSight mission, space science reviews. Space Science Reviews 215: 22 (2018).

    Google Scholar 

  • Banfield, D., A. Spiga, C. Newman, et al. 2020. The atmosphere of Mars as observed by InSight. Nature Geoscience 13: 190–198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bonitz, R.G., T.T. Nguyen, and W. S. Kim. 2000. The Mars surveyor ‘01 rover and robotic arm. IEEE aerospace conference. Proceedings (Cat. No.00TH8484), vol. 7, pp. 235‒246

    Google Scholar 

  • Bonitz, R.G., et al. 2008. NASA Mars 2007 Phoenix lander robotic arm and icy soil acquisition device. Journal of Geophysical Research 113: E00A01.

  • Folkner, W., et al. 2018. The rotation and interior structure experiment on the InSight mission to Mars. Space Science Reviews. (2018 this issue).

  • Golombek, M., et al. 2018. Geology and physical properties investigations by the InSight lander. Space Science Reviews 214: 84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lognonné, P., et al. 2019. SEIS: Insight’s seismic experiment for internal structure of Mars. Space Science Reviews 215: 12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maki, J.N., et al. 2018. The color cameras on the InSight lander. Space Science Reviews 214: 105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sorice, C., P. Bailey, A. Trebi-Ollennu, W.S. Kim, and S. Myint. 2020. Catenary model of InSight SEIS tether for instrument deployment. In 2020 IEEE aerospace conference, Big Sky, MT, USA, pp. 1‒8.

  • Spohn, T., M. Grott, et al. 2018. The heat flow and physical properties package (HP3) for the InSight mission. Space Science Reviews, this issue.

    Google Scholar 

  • Trebi-Ollennu, A., et al. 2012. Lunar surface operation testbed (LSOT). In 2012 IEEE aerospace conference, Big Sky, MT, pp. 1‒ 16.

  • Trebi-Ollennu, A., et al. 2018. InSight Mars lander robotics instrument deployment system. Space Science Reviews 214: 93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yen, J., B. Cooper, F. Hartman, S. Maxwell, and J. Wright. 2004. Sequence rehearsal and validation on surface operations of the Mars exploration rovers. In Proceedings of SpaceOps 2004, Montreal, Canada.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). © 2020. California Institute of Technology. Government sponsorship acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Trebi-Ollennu, A. et al. (2023). Robotic Deployment and Installation of Payloads on Planetary Surface. In: Badescu, V., Zacny, K., Bar-Cohen, Y. (eds) Handbook of Space Resources. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics