The Mars Perseverance rover forced to stop collecting samples, small pebbles were invited all over the place.
The Mars Perseverance rover’s collection of Martian rock samples just encountered a problem. NASA reports that the robot had to stop collecting samples after debris partially blocked the carousel (the component that stores the recovered pieces and passes the sample tubes to internal processing).
The rover encountered this anomaly on December 29, but the mission team decided to wait until January 6 to send a command to extract the drill, detach the robotic arm from the carousel and take images for check what happened.
Mars Perseverance rover forced to stop collecting samples
The obstacles in question would be small pebbles which fell from the tube at the exit of the drill, precisely preventing these pieces from being placed correctly on the carousel. Storage is absolutely vital for NASA if it is to be able to retrieve these samples on Earth.
In any case, this does not mean the end of sample collection. NASA / JPL Chief Sampling Engineer Louise Jandura explained that the carousel was designed to work with debris.
And this isn’t the first time the team has had to clean them up. Louise Jandura specified that the operators would now take all the time necessary to get rid of these stones while respecting the protocols in place.
Small pebbles have been invited all over the place
This is not the first time that the Perseverance rover has had problems. The robot had failed on its first sample collection attempt and the Ingenuity helicopter encountered a problem during its sixth flight.
And at the same time, it all illustrates perfectly the challenges of this kind of mission – even a task that seems as simple as sample collection and storage can have many problems. And with a planet Mars so far away from our blue planet, fixes are never easy or certain.
I recently captured my sixth rock core and have encountered a new challenge. Seems some pebble-sized debris is obstructing my robotic arm from handing off the tube for sealing/storage. More images and data to come. #SamplingMars takes perseverance.
Blog: https://t.co/flabIslR21 pic.twitter.com/sfaxuu0HNG
– NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) January 8, 2022
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.