The process of collecting rocks from Mars, carried out by the “Perseverance” rover, as it became known, faced a new, rather unexpected in some sense problem. The fact is that, according to NASA, the aforementioned rover “stopped caching samples” after debris partially blocked the bit carousel, a device that in turn stores all drill bits and passes sample tubes for internal processing … The rover mentioned above encountered this problem not so long ago, namely on December 29.
However, unfortunately, it was not possible to immediately start fixing the problem, because the team responsible for this mission had to wait until January 6 in order to finally send a command to retrieve the drill bit, undock the manipulator from the carousel and create images that are designed to help you understand what the root cause of the problem is. But for now, until this problem is properly studied, it is believed that the obstacles themselves are pebbles that fell out of the sample tube when the core bit was lowered, which prevents this bit from sitting neatly in the carousel.
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
The repository is critical to NASA’s plans to return samples to Earth. Without it, the rover literally cannot deliver anything to Earth in the form and quantity that scientists require. Be that as it may, it is imperative to note that the collection of samples does not end there. The fact is that Louise Jandura, chief sampling engineer for NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, noted that the aforementioned carousel is designed “to work with garbage.” However, in any case, this is the first time that the team had to remove this very rubbish in order for the rover to continue on its mission.
In large part, it is for this reason that Louise Jandura said that Perseverance operators “will take as long as they need” to get rid of the shingles “in a controlled and orderly manner.” And yes, this is also not the first time Perseverance has run into any kind of problem. The rover, for example, failed to collect samples on its first attempt, while its fellow Ingenuity helicopter experienced a processing error during its sixth flight. Nevertheless, in any case, these incidents very vividly illustrate the difficulties of this really difficult mission, because even such a seemingly mundane task as storing a sample can go awry in the wrong conditions.