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Robotic Deployment and Installation of Payloads on Planetary Surface

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Handbook of Space Resources

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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.

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Correspondence to Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu .

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

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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. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97913-3_21

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