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Perseverance faces its first real problem on Mars

Perseverance faces its first real problem on Mars

Perseverance seems to have stuck some stones in the “throat”. The rover, which drilled and collected the sixth rock sample a few days ago, has not yet been able to seal the pipe containing the material. Engineers are currently involved in this issue.

Since landing in the Jessero abyss last February, the American rover Perseverance Rover has already collected five rock samples. These will be (more to come) Brought to Earth in the early 2030s for analysis. Researchers hope to find traces of past life, most likely microbes.

On December 29, Diligence began collecting its number six model. To do this, the mission team set its sights on a rock near the rover Isol. The operation seemed to be going well. Relying on the impact drill located at the end of its 2.1 m long robot arm, the rover effectively took the model before switching to its “carousel”, which is a wheel-shaped rotating system mounted on the rover chassis. All samples will be sealed. Only then did the vehicle encounter some problems.

Pebbles stuck in gear

The rover’s sensors actually recorded unexpected resistance at the beginning of this phase, which is one Possible prevention. So, a few days ago, the mission team asked Perseverance to remove the sample-filled tube from the carousel and take some pictures of the mechanism. These pictures eventually revealed The presence of many stones, Visible below.

Picture taken on January 7, 2022 by Rover’s Watson camera. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

The diligence team is now working on the problem and is careful not to rush. ” This is the first time we have removed the debris and we want to take all the time necessary to ensure that these stones come out in a controlled and orderly manner.«, Confident In fact Louis Zantura is the chief engineer for the rover model and reservoir at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JBL).

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This is not the first challenge that diligence faces, but it can be very important. In fact, keep in mind that Perseverance Rover’s first attempt failed, Because no rock or Martian dust sample is integrated into the tube. According to the task force, the targeted rock can be very soft and fragile when handled.