NASA takes on one of its toughest challenges yet: Pebbles!
On its mission to find evidence of ancient microbial life, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover ran into another stop.
The rover continued to collect Martian rock and regolith samples. The object will eventually return to Earth, but has encountered a “new challenge.”
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.— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) January 8, 2022
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NASA’s Mars 2020 mission team mentions its plan to deal with the obstruction from the rover’s bit carousel. Operational order developed and tested during the previous weekend and last week.
“With terrestrial experimentation complete, we have begun executing our mitigation strategy on Mars. On Jan. 12 we did a detailed image survey of the ground below Perseverance. This was done so we would have a good idea what rocks and pebbles already exist down there before some more – from our bit carousel – join them in the not-so-distant future,” Jennifer Trosper, the project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), wrote on Friday.
The contents of the sixth rock core are the contents of the latest rock sample. Mars gets back these contents sooner than later. On Thursday and Friday, the mission team sent commands up to the rover’s robotic arm. Imagine if a group of scientists pressed a button or two to make your arm make certain movements. No thank you.
The rover’s job is far from over. On Friday, the team plans to have the machine do two rotation tests. They also plan to carry out these plans over the weekend.
“Our expectations are that these rotations – and any subsequent pebble movement – will help guide our team, providing them the necessary information on how to proceed. Still, to be thorough, we are also commanding the rover to take a second set of under-chassis images, just in case one or more pebbles happen to pop free,” Trosper continued.
NASA’s Mars Rover Found a Treasure Chest
NASA’s Mars rover made some recent discoveries.
Social Post released a news story discussing the finding thanks to the rover. After the product landed on the red planet back in February 2021, the team figure out whether its Jezero crater was a real crater or just a lake. Yes, it turned out to be a tiny body of water.
Also, the rocks in the machine’s landing zone contained unknown origins. No one could figure out whether the rocks happened to be volcanic or sedimentary. Only time will tell.
“I started to despair and thought we would never find the answer. But then our PIXL instrument had a good view of the eroded part of the rock and everything became clear: the crystals inside are the ultimate proof,” said Ken Farley from the California Institute of Technology.
According to Farley, the discovery is a “treasure chest of knowledge.” Maybe it’s not the bucket of gold we were hoping for, but knowledge can be as valuable as jewels.
We can only wait to find out what else the rover discovers beyond the stars.