In-Situ Instrument Laboratory (ISIL)

In the ISIL facility
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tours the ISIL facility with JPL staff to see the Mars Insight testbed.

The In-Situ Instrument Laboratory (ISIL) is a building that includes many different types of laboratories. The main highbay in ISIL is a Mars-like environment for missions to Mars. The highbay is equipped with overhead lighting to simulate the Martian sunlight and an area known as The Sandbox. The Sandbox is a garnet filled regolith-like surface. This surface allows missions such as the Mars Exploration Rovers, InSight Lander, and Mars Science Laboratory to test their robotic instruments on a surface that can mimic the Martian surface.  The highbay was originally designed for the Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover Programs and their testbed rovers. Over the years it has also served as the Surface Testbed for the Mars Science Laboratory and InSight Lander Missions to Mars and their need to test various sequences such as Driving, Instrument Deployments, and Robotic Arm operations. The latest addition to the highbay are the multiple testbeds for the upcoming Mars 2020 Rover. The Mars 2020 System Testbed resides in multiple rooms in ISIL. The highbay is home to the Mars 2020 Sample Caching System, Remote Sensing, and High Gain Antenna motion control testing on the “Hexapod”, which is used to validate the hardware design capability and performance. M2020 Avionics, Payloads, Sensors, Flight Software, and Mission Systems is located in the large cleanroom next door to the highbay, separated by large windows.