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

See ya afterwards, crumbly Mars rock sample.


This story is section of Welcome to Mars, our collection exploring the crimson earth.

Troubleshooting is a important talent for any staff that performs with robots on Mars, for the reason that the planet will mess with your robots. NASA’s Perseverance rover workforce is operating out how to correct a challenge with some pebbles receiving in the way of its rock sampling method. But very first, the rover is creating a shock transfer by dumping the sample it really is collected onto the floor.

Perseverance drilled and extracted the sample from a rock nicknamed Issole in late December, but was not in a position to entire 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 team of little pebbles, which need to be cleared out. It’s not as straightforward as just asking the rover to shake off like a wet canine. NASA is now embarking on a multi-step system to take care of it.

First, the rover took a great look at the ground below it so it would be equipped to watch for variations when it dislodges the offending pebbles. Upcoming up is a maneuver for the robotic arm. “Only place, we are returning the remaining contents of Sample Tube 261 (our hottest cored-rock sample) again to its world of origin,” wrote project manager Jennifer Trosper in a rover update on Friday. Trosper described it as anything “I in no way imagined we would execute — at any time.”

The group expects dumping out the contents will be pretty easy, involving pointing the open stop at the ground and letting gravity just take around. 

The rover is equipped with a established of sample tubes that allow for it to stash away bits of Mars NASA hopes to bring again to Earth with a upcoming mission. The samples are precious cargo, which is why the strategy of dumping one particular appears so weird. But NASA isn’t really confident how a great deal rock is however in the sample tube. If the workforce is equipped to clear the pebble obstruction, the rover may possibly consider to sample Issole a next time to get a far more finish chunk of the rock.

The Perseverance rover took a superior search at the floor so the team will be capable to spot any pebbles it drops.


The subsequent actions will concentration on the pesky pebbles. NASA is commanding the rover to execute some rotation exams of its little bit carousel. “Our expectations are that these rotations — and any subsequent pebble motion – will support guideline our staff, furnishing them the necessary information on how to carry on,” Trosper said.

NASA must know by early following week what outcome the carousel movements had on the pebbles. 

Every NASA rover has run into difficulties on Mars, from wheel don to rocks that don’t behave. Clever and watchful answers have assisted retain missions going, so it is really probably the pebbles will never hinder Perseverance’s do the job for as well extensive.

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