Tethers

Concrete application of ANDUS ultra-long flexible circuit boards:
DLR heat flux probe HP3 for the 2016 NASA-Mars mission landing module InSight

So far, the exploration of the planet Mars has been made using only observations from orbit and directly on the surface. The investigation of the interior of the planet, however, is only now beginning.

For the next Mars mission, scheduled for 2016, the heat flux probe selected for NASA's Mission InSight HP3 (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package) lunar module will come from German Aerospace Center (DLR). 

For these surveys, the probe will be pounded with a hammer mechanism into a metal sleeve, several meters deep into the Martian soil. HP3 is a so-called instrumented, electro-mechanical "mole", which can penetrate into the ground using an internal striker mechanism. It is equipped with a thermal measurement unit, an accelerometer, and a tilt meter.

For this, ANDUS is supplying both the science tether and the engineering tether.

The science tether is an ultra-long flexible printed circuit board, 5 meters in length, on which the thermal probes reside, which measure the temperature and the gradient, up to the maximum depth. The engineering tether, also an ultra-long flexible printed circuit board, connects the support system to the lander.

The exact mode of operation is illustrated on the following fascinating animation:

                      Link to the video of the DLR 
                      Video: HP3 experiment will measure the heat flow in the interior of Mars
                                                        (Source: DLR CC-BY 3.0)