Home » NASA Perseverance Mars rover has crud obstructing its rock sample program

NASA Perseverance Mars rover has crud obstructing its rock sample program

NASA Perseverance Mars rover has crud obstructing its rock sample system

This picture from Jan. 7 reveals the debris obstructing the bit carousel on NASA’s Perseverance rover.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This story is section of Welcome to Mars, our sequence discovering the crimson earth.

Mars does not get kindly to our robotic explorers. It chokes them with dust, roughs up their wheels and messes with their probes, and now it is throwing a new challenge at NASA’s Perseverance rover. Some pebble-dimensions debris is finding in the way of the machine’s rock sample collection method.

Almost everything went efficiently at very first. On Dec. 29, Perseverance drilled into a rock nicknamed Issole and extracted a sample of it. “However, through the transfer of the bit that has the sample into the rover’s little bit carousel (which outlets bits and passes tubes to the tube processing hardware within the rover), our sensors indicated an anomaly,” wrote Louise Jandura, main engineer for sampling and caching, in a website post on Friday.

The rover halted its sampling actions when it fulfilled unconventional resistance all through the method of stowing the sample. As the rover group expressed in a tweet on Friday, the upshot is the debris is protecting against the rover’s robotic arm from effectively handing off the sample-loaded tube for sealing and storage. 

Perseverance is the initial rover to endeavor to obtain samples of Mars in sealed tubes. It truly is a essential section of a mission that’s also seeking out symptoms of historic microbial lifestyle on the red planet. NASA is scheduling to deliver an formidable long term mission to choose up the samples and provide them again to Earth for study. 

The rover team commanded the equipment to backtrack by pulling out the drill bit and tube. It snapped some illustrations or photos together the way to aid diagnose the dilemma. “These most modern downlinked pictures affirm that inside the bit carousel there are a couple parts of pebble-sized debris,” Jandura wrote. NASA expects the pebbles fell out of the sample tube.

Though the debris offers a obstacle, there is no purpose to fret yet. Jandura explained the designers of the little bit carousel have thought of this chance, but that it will acquire time to get the job done by a resolution that enables the pebbles to “exit in a managed and orderly vogue.”

NASA has demonstrated resourceful when it will come to doing the job via the pink planet’s mood tantrums. The Perseverance group options to acquire this a person gradual to ensure the sampling technique is crystal clear and prepared to go for long run function.