Perseverance Ways to Overcome the Gravel Blocking the Process of Collecting Stones on Mars

JAKARTA – NASA’s Perseverance recently faced a formidable challenge, which was discovered to be blocked by gravel during the process of collecting rock samples from Mars. Can the rover robot handle it?

“This is only the sixth time in human history that samples have been taken from rock on a planet other than Earth, so when we see something unusual happening, we take it slow,” said Louise Jandura, Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching at NASA/JPL. official.

Perseverance tried to collect samples from the rock dubbed Issole, but sensors detected problems during the collection process, and the rover was forced to stop its activity.

After further identifying it, the team discovered that the problem occurred in a part of the sample collection process called Coring Bit Dropoff, after the rover drilled into the rock and sampled it.

Then, the drill bit is aimed at the end of the robotic arm to insert the rock into its carousel (the receptacle), inside the rover’s chassis. During this movement, when it was time to load the sample into the carousel, the Perseverance sensor detected even more resistance than expected.

Launch Digital Trends, Sunday, January 16th, when the team examined the pictures of the carousel, they noticed that there were some pebbles inside which had likely fallen from the sample tube.

It was this gravel that prevented the sample tubes from neatly slipping into the carousel, so they began their next task of clearing up this debris. They used a robotic arm to pour the sample back into the ground.

“Why do we dump the contents of the sample tube? The answer is, at this time, we’re not sure how much core rock continues to be in Tube 261,” said Jennifer Trosper, Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“So if our plan goes well with our gravel mitigation, we might try to come back to take Issole core again.”

Next, the team will conduct a series of trials by rotating the carousel twice and see if this can remove the pebbles or not.

“We expect data and imagery from these two rotational tests to be delivered to Earth next Tuesday, January 18th. From there, we will analyze and refine our plans further.”

“If I had to leak it I would estimate we’d be at our current location in about a week, or even more if we decided to re-sample Issole,” he added.


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