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NASA's Mars spacecraft has a 'thorn in its side'

NASA’s Mars spacecraft has a ‘thorn in its side’

When you buy new sneakers, you start to feel uncomfortable when you walk, and when you look, you realize that a pebble is stuck in the sole? Because the probe determinationGive NASA, which is on a mission in Mars, you have a similar problem.

Specialists from the US space agency have been working since late December to find a way to remove some of the debris stuck in the robot that was identified during a sample extraction from the Red Planet.

According to NASA, while transmitting the sample-containing portion to the rover’s bit ringer (which processes and sends data back to the agency), sensors indicated anomalies.

The problem occurred during the so-called “dropping of the drill bit”, which is when the drill, with its tube containing the freshly collected sample, is directed from the percussion drill (at the end of the robotic arm) to the drill carousel (found in the robot’s body). At this time, the sensor recorded a greater resistance than expected during operation.

splinter removal strategy

Since last week, NASA has been studying in detail images of the Earth as it passes persevere, at first, to understand the types of rocks for each wave the spacecraft will cross and noting the possibility of a few more fragments joining the circle of bits in the future.

Now, NASA has decided to simply flip the circle of bits using the perseverance robotic arm so that the cabin drops the pebbles. And how will the space agency know if this step is successful? Simple: just look at the floor again and see if there are extra parts in place.

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Jennifer Trosper, Project Director, wrote: “The Perseverance team is exploring all aspects of the problem to ensure that we not only get rid of this rock debris, but also prevent similar recurrences during future sampling. Essentially, we leave no stone unturned.” From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the agency’s official blog.

If the procedure is successful, persistence will resume exploration on the rock that ended up causing the problem. “If our plans to mitigate the gravel are successful, we may also try to extract the core of ‘Isol’ (the rocks from this sample) again,” Trosper said.

Despite the problem, the persistent rover can continue to operate on the planet’s surface. However, since the device is still relatively new to Mars, the agency wants to treat the components as best as possible to avoid future problems.

This was not the first anomaly that NASA discovered during the mission. The first attempt to collect soil samples came empty, prompting the US space agency to test alternative ways to start collecting rocks.

According to NASA, the robot is equipped with 43 tube samples, seven of which have been archived so far. It is believed that by the end of 2020, these tubes will be sent back to Earth via an ambitious mission called Mars Sample Return.