Polish-built robot to help NASA InSight evaluate Martian soil

NASA InSight landing on Mars / Photo: NASA website

NASA InSight landing on Mars this Monday was the breaking news that makes the whole world stop for a minute and celebrates this great scientific success. After almost 8 months journey (it was launched on May 5th this year), InSight spacecraft has finally landed on the Red Planet set to be the first mission to peer deep into Mars’ interior.

But this great interplanetary mission as much as it is important and meaningful to NASA team is as much as important and significant for Polish nation and its engineers. Namely, the propulsion mechanism of HP3 Mole, which will dig for 5 meters in the Martian soil, was designed and made by Polish company Astronika, both the Polish Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology and Astronika reported.

Bartosz Kędziora CEO at Astronika / Photo: Astronika’s website

“Our participation in the InSight mission proved that Astronika is among the first league of producers of technologically advanced instruments for planetary missions. I’m glad that for the 100th Anniversary of Poland Regaining Independence, thanks to us, this little Polish flag has successfully landed on Mars”, said Bartosz Kędziora CEO at Astronika.

For Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology, NASA InSight mission “constitute an important Polish contribution to space exploration”.

“Participation of Astronika in NASA InSight mission constitute an important Polish contribution to space exploration. Technologies used to space exploration seem often distant but with time they step into our daily life. Today we can’t imagine life on Earth without many solutions that firstly have been created for the space sector. This is why we support Polish space industry”, emphasized Emilewicz.

What will Polish Mole do on Mars?
Astronika’s mechanism that will help NASA InSight peer deeper on Martian soil / Photo: Astronika’s website

According to Polish Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology’s report, the mechanism of Mole will start operating in January 2019 and will be sending data over the next months, providing NASA and the world with the information on the history of the formation of the Red Planet, the changes that take place in the structure of the planet, temperature and planetary nucleus.

A Mole will be in charge of measuring the heat flow from the planet’s interior by drilling 5 meters down into Mars. According to Astronika’s report that is deeper than all previous instruments to any planet, moon, or asteroid.

Founded in 2013, Astronika is an SME spin-out company founded with Polish capital by a unique group of engineers with vast previous experience in the development of specialized space mechanisms and project coordination.

Involved in the development of specialized space mechanisms and space projects coordination, they have gained a broad and exclusive experience in the space branch. According to company info that feature makes Astronika stand out on the Polish space market which, while at an initial stage, is expected to grow quickly.
The company’s aim is to develop the space sector in Poland and gain an established position on the Polish, European and global space market.

The Astronika’s specialties are: general S/C mechanisms, Hold Down & Release mechanisms, Ultra-light manipulators, antennas, booms, Moon and planetary soil sampling technologies, small landers and rovers, and small satellite structures and nano-satellite orbital deployers.