NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover Has Debris Obstructing Bit Carousel After Latest Sample Collection

Debris in Perseverance's Bit Carousel

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Debris in Perseverance’s Bit Carousel: Pebble- sized particles can be seen in the bit carousel of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover in this January 7, 2022, image. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ MSSS

On Wednesday, December 29 (sol 306) Perseverance effectively cored and drawn out a sample from a Mars rock. Data downlinked after the tasting suggests that coring of the rock the science group nicknamed Issole went efficiently. However, throughout the transfer of the bit which contains the sample into the rover’s bit carousel (which shops bits and passes tubes to television processing hardware inside the rover), our sensing units suggested an abnormality. The rover did as it was created to do– stopping the caching treatment and calling house for additional directions.

This is just the 6 th time in human history a sample has actually been cored from a rock on a world aside from Earth, so when we see something anomalous going on, we take it slow. Here is what we understand up until now, and what we are doing about it.

Debris in Perseverance Rover's Bit Carousel

Zoomed- in view of the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) image, highlighting the area of the sample particles. The location within the blue box is approximately 6.5 millimeters squared. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ MSSS

The anomaly took place throughout “Coring Bit Dropoff.” It’s when the drill bit, with its sample tube and just-cored sample nestled within, is assisted out of the percussive drill (at the end of the robotic arm) and into the bit carousel (which lies on the rover’s chassis). During processing of previous cored rock samples, the coring bit took a trip 5.15 inches (131 centimeters) prior to sensing units started to tape the sort of resistance (drag) anticipated initially contact with the carousel structure. However, this time around the sensing unit tape-recorded greater resistance than normal at about 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) earlier than anticipated, and some much greater resistance than anticipated throughout the operation.

The group asked for extra information and images to make sure appropriate understanding of the state post anomaly. Because we are currently running through a set of “restricted Sols” in which the latency of the information limits the kind of activities we can carry out on Mars, it has actually taken about a week to get the extra diagnostic information required to comprehend this abnormality.

Imaging Perseverance’s Sample

Imaging Perseverance’s Sample: This image reveals the cored-rock sample staying in the sample tube after the drill bit was drawn out from Perseverance’s bit carousel on January 7,2022 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Armed with that information set, we sent out up a command to draw out the drill bit and sample-filled tube from the bit carousel and undock the robotic arm from the bit carousel. During these activities, a series of hardware images were gotten.

The extraction occurred on January 6, 2022, and information was downlinked early in the early morning on January 7. These newest downlinked images validate that inside the bit carousel there are a couple of pieces of pebble-sized particles. The group is positive that these are pieces of the cored rock that fell out of the sample tube at the time of Coring Bit Dropoff, which they avoided the bit from seating totally in the bit carousel.

The designers of the bit carousel did think about the capability to continue to effectively run with particles. However, this is the very first time we are doing a particles elimination and we wish to take whatever time is needed to make sure these pebbles exit in a regulated and organized style. We are going to continue to assess our information sets over the weekend.

This is not the very first curve Mars has actually tossed at us– simply the current. One thing we have actually discovered is that when the engineering difficulty is numerous countless miles away (Mars is presently 215 million miles from Earth), it pays to take your time and be comprehensive. We are going to do that here. So that when we do strike the unpaved Martian roadway once again, Perseverance sample collection is likewise all set to roll.

Written by Louise Jandura, Chief Engineer for Sampling & & Caching at NASA/ JPL