Tuesday, November 27, 2018

USA, Colorado: GRC Member Has Geothermal (Areothermal?) Experiment on Mars Mission

2 Colorado School of Mines scientists helping with Mars InSight lander (FOX31 Denver)

This image was acquired on November 26, 2018.
 Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
From science museums to the big screens at Times Square, NASA’s latest Mars landing captivated the country Monday afternoon.

As the InSight spacecraft touched down on the Martian surface, cheers erupted from inside Mission Control. The same thing happened in a tiny corner of Golden.

“It was when it got down to about 80 meters that my heart started going faster and faster,” Paul Morgan said.

Morgan is the senior geothermal geologist at the Colorado Geological Survey at Colorado School of Mines. He helped design one of the instruments that will be used for experiments on the lander. Morgan began designing the probe in 2003. At the time, he says he did not know that it would ever fly on a mission.

The instrument he helped design is called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe, better known as HP3. It includes a self-hammering nail about a foot long and an inch in diameter that will penetrate Mars’ surface and collect temperature readings, as well as a tether that will also measure the temperature of the Martian soil.