Home » Pesky pebbles are clogging NASA Perseverance Mars rover’s rock sample technique

Pesky pebbles are clogging NASA Perseverance Mars rover’s rock sample technique

NASA Perseverance Mars rover has crud obstructing its rock sample system

This picture from Jan. 7 displays the particles obstructing the little bit carousel on NASA’s Perseverance rover.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This story is element of Welcome to Mars, our sequence checking out the red earth.

Mars doesn’t take kindly to our robotic explorers. It chokes them with dust, roughs up their wheels and messes with their probes, and now it really is throwing a new challenge at NASA’s Perseverance rover. Pebble-size particles is blocking the machine’s rock sample collection program.

Almost everything went smoothly at 1st. On Dec. 29, Perseverance drilled into a rock nicknamed Issole and extracted a sample of it. “On the other hand, for the duration of the transfer of the bit that is made up of the sample into the rover’s bit carousel (which suppliers bits and passes tubes to the tube processing components inside the rover), our sensors indicated an anomaly,” wrote Louise Jandura, chief engineer for sampling and caching, in a blog publish on Friday.

The rover halted its sampling routines when it achieved abnormal resistance all through the method of stowing the sample. As the rover team expressed in a tweet on Friday, the upshot is the debris is preventing the rover’s robotic arm from adequately handing off the sample-crammed tube for sealing and storage. 

Perseverance is the first rover to endeavor to obtain samples of Mars in sealed tubes. It truly is a essential part of a mission that’s also trying to find out symptoms of historic microbial life on the crimson planet. NASA is setting up to deliver an ambitious upcoming mission to select up the samples and provide them again to Earth for analyze. 

The rover team commanded the device to backtrack by pulling out the drill little bit and tube. It snapped some illustrations or photos together the way to support diagnose the issue. “These most new downlinked photographs validate that inside the bit carousel there are a handful of parts of pebble-sized debris,” Jandura wrote. NASA expects the pebbles fell out of the sample tube.

Even though the particles presents a obstacle, you can find no motive to fret however. Jandura stated the designers of the little bit carousel have thought of this chance, but that it will consider time to function through a remedy that lets the pebbles to “exit in a controlled and orderly fashion.”

NASA has demonstrated resourceful when it arrives to operating through the purple planet’s temper tantrums. The Perseverance workforce programs to just take this a person slow to be certain the sampling procedure is distinct and ready to go for future work.