See NASA's InSight lander play the claw game on Mars

Instead of a stuffed toy, the NASA lander wins a marsquake detector.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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InSight's claw grips the top of the seismometer. The wind and thermal shield is in the background.


NASA is better at playing the claw game than you will ever be. The space agency is so good, it can win on another planet. 

NASA's InSight lander is equipped with a claw on the end of an arm designed to grasp instruments, lift them up and place them gently on the surface of Mars. The InSight team is now preparing to use the claw to deploy a seismometer that'll detect marsquakes and meteorite impacts. 

NASA posted a nifty GIF on Monday showing the claw and its tenuous-looking cables reaching down to the top of the seismometer, which is mounted on the lander's deck. The arm will set the seismometer down on the ground and then cover it with a protective shield to guard it against wind and weather.

"Who knew that practicing the claw game would come in handy for exploring #Mars?" the InSight team tweeted. 

The mission updates have been coming fast since InSight landed on Nov. 26. We received a first image, a first selfie and some mind-expanding audio of Mars winds as detected by the lander.

After studying its surroundings, NASA is now angling InSight toward its main science goals, which are focused on studying the interior of Mars to learn more about how rocky planets form. Coming to grips with the seismometer is a key moment for the mission.

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