Perseverance Has Run Into a Problem on Mars: Pebbles

A pile of pebbles is blocking the operations of the Perseverance Mars rover.
The mission team had to extract a core from a rock after the rover began to struggle.

The device that transfers the drill bit and sample out of the rover's drill arm and into a carousel for storage malfunctioned, according to a NASA blog.

During the transfer, the sensors within the rover recorded a higher than normal amount of friction.
The rover shut down and sent a message back to Earth. Operators requested more data from the rover, but Perseverance took a week to respond due to the mismatch between Martian days and Earth days.

The team ordered the rover to act as its own mechanic by removing the drill bit and undoing the drilling arm in order to take a picture of its own parts.

The carousel has a small pile of pebbles. The bits of debris that fell off the sample were blocking the drill bit from sitting in the carousel.


The carousel is designed to operate in the presence of debris, but NASA is working on a solution.

Louise Jandura, chief engineer for sampling and caching at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote in a post that this is not the first curve Mars has thrown at them.

When the engineering challenge is hundreds of millions of miles away, it pays to take your time and be thorough. We are going to do that here.

The Perseverance rover landed on Mars. It is looking at Jezero Crater, which was once a river delta.

The goal is to take rock and soil samples to assess the crater for signs of life. The hope is that a future Mars mission will be able to retrieve and return the rover's rock samples to Earth.
The Perseverance team has had to overcome a sampling hiccup before. The first attempt to collect a rock sample failed. The rover was able to collect a pair of rock samples.

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The article was published by Live Science. The original article can be found here.