Mars rover’s anemometer was damaged by a pebble impact

While NASA's Perseverance rover is on its second science mission, the wind has gotten in the way, lifting pebbles from the surface of Mars into one of the instruments. Its science was damaged.

BingMag.com Mars rover’s anemometer was damaged by a pebble impact

While NASA's Perseverance rover is on its second science mission, the wind has gotten in the way, lifting pebbles from the surface of Mars into one of the instruments. Its science was damaged.

It seems that the planet Mars can be a very windy place. Perseverance rover landed on the red planet in February 2021 carrying a weather station called "Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer" (MEDA). Among several sensors that measure weather parameters such as humidity, radiation and air temperature, this instrument includes two sensors that measure wind speed and direction. Jos Antonio Rodrguez Manfredi, principal investigator of the MEDA instrument, pebbles lifted from the Red Planet's surface by strong winds damaged one of the wind sensors. Nevertheless, MEDA, although with reduced sensitivity, can still track the wind in the probe's landing area in the "Jezero" crater. "Now the sensor capabilities are reduced, but it still provides speed and direction measurements. The entire team is now resetting the recovery process to obtain more accurate readings from the undamaged detectors. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), two persistent wind sensors about the size of a ruler. They are comprised of six separate detectors that aim to accurately read the wind from any direction. Each of the two main wind sensors is attached to a rod that can be opened and moved away from the rover as it moves. Because the Perseverance affects the wind flow as much as a car does when moving through the thin atmosphere of Mars.

Rodriguez Manfredi noted: "Like all instruments in the Perseverance, the wind sensor takes into account the necessary protection and having the tools Backup is designed. But of course, there is a tolerance threshold for anything.

And for an instrument like Moda, this threshold is more challenging because the sensors must be directly exposed to environmental conditions to record wind parameters. Thus, when stronger-than-expected winds lifted larger-than-expected pebbles from the Martian surface, they damaged some parts of the detector.

BingMag.com Mars rover’s anemometer was damaged by a pebble impact

Persistence Mars rover MOD instrument test on Earth
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astrobiology Center researcher Spain, who is also the principal investigator of another wind and temperature sensor on NASA's InSight lander, added: "Neither our estimates nor our experience from previous missions predicted such strong winds and such loose material rising from the surface of the region. They wouldn't."

He added that it was ironic that the sensors were damaged by wind or "exactly what we were looking for."

Persistence in It landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 (1 March 2021) and along with the small helicopter "Ingenuity" is exploring the delta of an ancient river that may have been full of microbes billions of years ago.

In addition to measuring wind, weather and humidity Cabbage, the rover is collecting the most promising Mars materials and storing them for a sample return mission to Earth in the 2030s.

Cover photo: Selfie of the Perseverance rover on the 118th day of the mission
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Source: Space

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