NASA Mars rover set to do something the team 'never imagined' A Mars rock sample collected by Perseverance is about to eat dirt.

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A Mars rock sample collected by Perseverance is a dirt eater.

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See you later, a sample of Mars rock.


it’s part of the story welcome to mars, our series explores the Red Planet.

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Troubleshooting is an important skill for any team working with robots on Mars, as the planet will mess with your robots. NASA’s Persistence rover team is working out how to fix Problem with some pebbles getting in the way of its rock sampling system, But first, the rover is taking a surprising step forward by dumping the collected sample on the ground.

Perseverance retrieved and extracted the sample from a rock nicknamed Issol in late December, but was not able to complete the handoff of the sample tube with a robotic arm to the bit carousel, a component that sends the tube to the rover for processing. The culprit is a bunch of small pebbles that need to be cleaned up. It’s not as simple as telling Rover to move like a wet dog. NASA is now working on a multi-stage plan to fix this.

First, the rover got a good look at the ground beneath it so that it could monitor changes when it removed the offending pebbles. Next is a maneuver for the robotic arm. “Simply put, we are returning the remaining material from Sample Tube 261 (our latest cored-rock sample) back to its parent planet,” project manager Jennifer Trosper wrote Friday in a rover update. Trosper described it as “I never thought we’d ever perform.”

The team expects that ejecting the material will be very straightforward, which involves pointing the open end at the ground and letting gravity dominate.

The rover is equipped with a set of sample tubes that allow it to sniff away bits of Mars NASA hopes to get back to Earth with future missions, Samples are precious cargo, which is why the idea of ​​dumping seems so strange. But NASA isn’t sure how much rock is still in the sample tube. If the team is able to overcome the pebble blockage, the rover could attempt to sample Issol a second time to obtain a more complete portion of the rock.

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The Persistence rover took a good look at the ground so that the team would be able to knock down any pebbles.

The next steps will focus on the pesky pebbles. NASA is ordering the rover to conduct some rotation tests of its bit carousel. “Our hopes are that these rotations – and any subsequent Pebble movements – will help guide our team, providing them with the necessary information on how to proceed,” Trosper said.

NASA should know early next week what effect the carousel movements had on the Pebbles.

Every NASA rover has tackled challenges on Mars wheel wear For rocks that don’t behave. Clever and careful solutions have helped the mission continue, so it’s possible that Pebbles won’t hinder Perseverance’s work for very long.

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