“NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature,” reports the Associated Press:
Scientists in Germany spent two years trying to get their heat probe, dubbed the mole, to drill into the Martian crust. But the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter) device that is part of NASA’s InSight lander couldn’t gain enough friction in the red dirt. It was supposed to bury 16 feet (5 meters) into Mars, but only drilled down a couple of feet (about a half meter). Following one last unsuccessful attempt to hammer itself down over the weekend with 500 strokes, the team called it quits.
“We’ve given it everything we’ve got, but Mars and our heroic mole remain incompatible,” said the German Space Agency’s Tilman Spohn, the lead scientist for the experiment…
InSight’s French seismometer, meanwhile, has recorded nearly 500 Marsquakes, while the lander’s weather station is providing daily reports.