While the sixth perseverance surface sampling operation on Mars initially went well, the operation continued until the pebble fell into the sampling vessel. The problem stopped.
On Wednesday, December 29 (the 306th day of the Mars mission), the perseverance astronaut successfully extracted a sample of Martian rocks. The data sent to the ground after sampling show that the sampling operation was performed well.
The sensors showed an anomaly. So the astronaut proceeded according to the mission design process; Stopped storing samples and contacted the Ground Control Center to continue.
This is the sixth time in human history that a sample of a rock has been taken from a planet other than Earth, so when something unusual happens The mission shows that the process is slower to check what is going on.
Close view by Watson's tool of the remaining gravel in the
(Coring Bit Dropoff) occurred. That is, when the sampling tube and the newly drilled sample are guided inside it, they are guided from the hammer drill at the end of the robotic arm to the sampling vessel or wheel on the drone chassis.
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during the processing of previous rock samples, before the sensors recorded the type of resistance expected when The first contact with the structure of the sampling wheel, the core of the sample is transferred 13.1 cm. This time, however, around the sensor, resistance was detected much higher than usual and about 1 cm earlier than expected.
The mission team requested more data and images from the astronaut to ensure a correct understanding of the anomaly. . However, due to the fact that the astronaut's activities are currently performed through a limited set of Martian days and there is a delay in sending and receiving data, it took about a week to receive the additional diagnostic data needed to understand this anomaly. Finally, using this new data, an order was sent to remove the drill and sample tube from the sampling wheel and release the robotic arm. During these activities, a series of new hardware images were also produced.
sample collected in a sampling tube
This operation was performed on January 6, 2022 (December 16, 1400) and its data was sent to Earth early the next day . These latest images confirm that inside the sampling wheel, there are several pieces of sampling debris the size of pebbles. The mission team is confident that these are pieces of core stone that protruded from the sample when it was dropped into the tube and now prevent it from being fully placed on the sampling wheel.
The tool also considers the ability to continue operating despite the pebbles, but this is the first time the mission team has encountered such a problem and must have time to ensure that the pebbles are cleared and removed in a controlled and regular manner, so the team Will continue to evaluate the data.
When an engineering challenge occurs hundreds of millions of kilometers away (Mars is now about 346 million kilometers from Earth), it will take patience and careful scrutiny. The mission of perseverance has faced challenges before, but each time it has been carefully examined by the ground team, it has succeeded.
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Cover Photo: A close-up view of Watson Instruments of pebbles
left in a sampling container
Sources: CNet, SciTechDaily, Engadget