Imminent deployment of the SEIS shield

On Mars, the french seismometer SEIS works fine and wait the setting up of its protective shield before starting its scientific activity 24H/24. Stage point with the CNES team, operating between Toulouse and California.

Crédits : CNES/Manchu/Bureau 21

Since December 19 2018 and the historic deployment of the seismometer SEIS on the ground of the planet Mars , the stages are chaining (meticulously and cautiously) to ensure optimum operation. A crucial step, near final, is scheduled for early February : the deployment of the SEIS shield that will protect it from wind and temperature fluctuations (-120°C the night, +20°C the day).

This shield is essential for the operation of the three very wide band sensors of SEIS.

« It’s three sensors that have been partially tested work perfectly. However, they are still polluted by different disturbances including thermal variations and wind. They will give their full measure to detect and record the tiniest movements of the Martian surface when we’re gonna deploy the shield » indicate Philippe Laudet, project leader InSight/SEIS for CNES, in mission to California, to the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) of the NASA since two months.

Deployment in four times :

« As for SEIS, the ground deplyment of the shield will take at least four days. » according toGabriel Pont, responsible for the SEIS instrument at CNES, who works in the United States. He explains the four steps :

  • Day 1 : sending the remote control asking the robotic arms to move over the shield on the lander deck.
  • Day 2 : reception of photos taken by the robotic arm camera ; if OK, sending the remote control asking the robotic arm to graps, with its grapple, the small handle at the top of the shield.
  • Day 3 : reception of the photos ; if OK, send remote controls to lift the shield, transport it and drop it over SEIS without touching it.
  • Day 4 : reception of the photos ; if OK, send the remote to the opening of the grappin to release the shield.

And yes, everything takes time on the red planet because everything is done in a robotic way with, as a means of communication, large parables on Earth and, on Mars, antennas and satellites relays.

Beginning of the scientific activity planned for the beginning of April. Objective : gather information on the internal structure of a rocky planet other than the Earth.

This article is a translation of the article in French, whose link is right here :

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