On Mars, has hammered in Germany, developed a robot for the first time fully automatically, into the ground. The Mars-a-mole with the official name of HP3 should help to unravel some of the mysteries of the Red planet.

He was in his first, four hours of continuous use with up to 4000 hammer approximately 18 to 50 centimeters blows penetrated deep into the Martian soil, according to the German center for air and space travel (DLR). The aim of the experiment is the measurement of the heat flow from the Martian interior.

“In his way in the depth of the mole is taken, apparently, on a rock, inclined about 15 degrees and this pushed aside or past him pushed,” said the scientific Director of the HP3 experiment, Tilman Spohn. After a cooling-off period, the researchers want to let the “mole” in a second Phase for another four hours of hammering. In the coming weeks, the robot is supposed to penetrate and then – in the case of sufficiently porous surfaces – in three to five feet deep.

The knee-high artificial mole to measure the temperature to a thousandth of a degree Celsius. It can be, for example, how the Interior of the Red planet has developed and whether he still has a hot liquid core. The robot has been developed at DLR. He looks like a big nail that has a built-in Hammer. He pulls a cord, which is equipped with temperature sensors.

HP3 (“Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package”) was landed in the framework of the Nasa Mission “InSight” at the end of November to Mars – a 485 million mile journey. The country place is located in a Region that is largely flat and free of large stones and rocks, the plain of Elysium Planitia just North the Martian Equator. Previous Mars missions have not explored the area from the ground. The total of around 650 million Euro “InSight”Mission is set to last for two years.

It was the first Mars landing of the Nasa for “Curiosity” in 2012. An extremely difficult maneuver, with Only around 40 per cent of all the world has so far launched Mars missions were the Nasa, successfully. The goal of the InSight project is to learn more about the structure of the planet and the dynamics of its surface. The measured values for temperature and conductivity of the soil will help to improve the computational models for the formation of the planet.

A successor for “InSight” is also waiting in the wings: in 2020, the Rover “to Mars in 2020 should be brought” on the way, a sort of revised Version of “Curiosity”.