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Space Research Centre’s contribution to InSight mission

NASA and European Space Agency are preparing for another great mission to explore the Red Planet as part of the InSight project. A space probe will carry out geophysical and seismological field studies on Mars. Its goal is to examine the nature of the planet’s nucleus, which will be helpful in preparing the ground for sending the first manned mission to Mars.


The space probe will be equipped with three measuring instruments. One of them will be HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) – the penetrator will be inserted up to 5 meters below the surface of the ground and measure the heat coming from the planet’s core. The device is 25 millimeters wide, weighs about 500 grams, and is made of titanium, steel and tungsten alloys.

The HP3 Mole drive was built by Polish company Astronika and easily defeated other devices constructed by the German side. A number of Polish scientific institutions were involved in the manufacturing process, including Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Aviation, Institute of Welding, Lodz and Warsaw Universities of Technology.

The entire project is worth around EUR 700,000 and is funded by the German Space Agency under funds from the European Space Agency (ESA).

Polish robot is one of the three principal measuring instruments that will be taken and used in space by InSight mission. NASA’s mission is scheduled to last two Earth years and is intended to pave the way for establishing the first human settlement on Mars. The probe landing on Mars is planned for November 28, 2018.