NASA Mars rover established to do one thing the team ‘never imagined’

See ya later, crumbly Mars rock sample.


This tale is section of Welcome to Mars, our collection checking out the pink world.

Troubleshooting is a critical ability for any staff that will work with robots on Mars, mainly because the planet will mess with your robots. NASA’s Perseverance rover workforce is working out how to take care of a challenge with some pebbles getting in the way of its rock sampling process. But to start with, the rover is generating a surprise move by dumping the sample it is really gathered onto the floor.

Perseverance drilled and extracted the sample from a rock nicknamed Issole in late December, but was not equipped to complete the handoff of the sample tube from the robotic arm into the bit carousel, a component that passes the tube into the rover for processing. The perpetrator is a group of modest pebbles, which need to have to be cleared out. It is really not as simple as just asking the rover to shake off like a wet pet. NASA is now embarking on a multi-phase program to fix it.

1st, the rover took a superior glimpse at the ground below it so it would be capable to monitor for improvements when it dislodges the offending pebbles. Subsequent up is a maneuver for the robotic arm. “Just put, we are returning the remaining contents of Sample Tube 261 (our most up-to-date cored-rock sample) again to its world of origin,” wrote task manager Jennifer Trosper in a rover update on Friday. Trosper described it as anything “I in no way imagined we would conduct — at any time.”

The staff expects dumping out the contents will be really clear-cut, involving pointing the open up conclusion at the ground and letting gravity take around. 

The rover is geared up with a established of sample tubes that enable it to stash absent bits of Mars NASA hopes to carry back again to Earth with a long run mission. The samples are precious cargo, which is why the thought of dumping a person appears so peculiar. But NASA isn’t confident how substantially rock is nonetheless in the sample tube. If the workforce is equipped to very clear the pebble obstruction, the rover could try to sample Issole a 2nd time to get a a lot more finish chunk of the rock.

The Perseverance rover took a great glimpse at the ground so the staff will be able to place any pebbles it drops.


The upcoming methods will concentrate on the pesky pebbles. NASA is commanding the rover to carry out some rotation tests of its bit carousel. “Our anticipations are that these rotations — and any subsequent pebble movement – will assist manual our team, offering them the important information on how to continue,” Trosper mentioned.

NASA must know by early up coming 7 days what result the carousel actions had on the pebbles. 

Every single NASA rover has run into problems on Mars, from wheel put on to rocks that never behave. Intelligent and very careful options have aided hold missions heading, so it truly is likely the pebbles will never hinder Perseverance’s perform for also extensive.