Space & Astronomy
Mars Perseverance rover is clogged up with pebbles
January 15, 2022 | 1 comment
Image showing the pebbles stuck inside the rover's internal mechanism. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
The rover, which has been collecting samples of the Matrian surface, has run into a bit of a problem.
One of the goals of the Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars just under one year ago, is to gather interesting samples of rocks and soil for potential retrieval by a future sample return mission.
To this end, the rover had recently been using its drilling tools to extract a core sample from a rock nicknamed 'Issole' when sensors picked up an anomalous level of friction within the device that transfers the drill bit and sample out of the rover's drilling arm and into storage within the chassis.
To prevent damage, the process halted and an alert was sent to the engineers back on Earth.
To find out more, the team instructed the rover to take a photograph of its own insides to see what was going on. What they discovered was that some small pebbles had become trapped in the mechanism.
While the system is designed to function even with debris in there, engineers are currently taking their time to figure out a solution that minimizes the risk of damage to the rover's internals.
"This is not the first curve Mars has thrown at us - just the latest," wrote JPL's Louise Jandura.
"One thing we've found is that when the engineering challenge is hundreds of millions of miles away (Mars is currently 215 million miles from Earth), it pays to take your time and be thorough."
"We are going to do that here."
Source: Science Alert
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