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Yesterday HP3 was laid down on the Martian surface, a few tens of centimeters behind the previous position after the lifting started on Sol 203 (see
In this photo taken by the Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) at 14:26:40 LMST, we can see the top of MOLE peeking out of the hole it produced, in the upper right corner.
You can also easily see how the ground appears darker immediately below the surface and at the pressure points exerted by HP3’s feet.
Could this be a clue to the presence of “moisture” in the soil?
If so, this would explain why the darker sub-surface soil tends to lighten when exposed to the sun.
Also assuming the presence of moisture in the soil, one could think that said moisture increases with depth and this would lead to the presence of frozen (and therefore hard!) soil just below the surface.
We will see in the coming days if the InSight technicians will be able to restart “the mole” (MOLE) and for how many centimeters …
I would like to venture a prediction, that MOLE will start to sink again but only a few centimeters at most and that even if several attempts will be repeated, it will never reach even one meter of depth.
As always in these cases I sincerely hope to be wrong….
This photo has been processed to allow a better view of the colors, balancing the white and slightly increasing the microcontrast.

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