May 20, 2024

NASA Mars Perseverance Rover: Pebbles Before Mountains

Mars Perseverance Sol 320– WATSON Image: NASAs Mars Perseverance rover got this image using its onboard SHERLOC WATSON imager. The image was acquired on Jan. 13, 2022 (Sol 320).
NASAs Mars 2020 objective team has actually been working systematically and thoroughly, making good progress on comprehending the very best path forward to get rid of the unwanted pebbles from Perseverances bit carousel. Over the previous weekend, and earlier this week, functional sequences were established and evaluated to eliminate these rocky trespassers.
With terrestrial experimentation total, we have begun executing our mitigation technique on Mars. On January 12 we did a comprehensive image study of the ground below Perseverance. This was done so we would have an excellent concept what pebbles and rocks currently exist down there prior to some more– from our bit carousel– join them in the not-so-distant future.
With this below-chassis, initial imaging, in hand, the team started a maneuver with our robotic arm I never ever pictured we would perform– ever. Simply put, we are returning the staying contents of Sample Tube 261 (our most current cored-rock sample) back to its world of origin. Although this situation was never developed or prepared for previous to release, it turns out dumping a core from an open tube is a fairly uncomplicated process (at least throughout Earth screening). We sent out commands up the other day, and in the future today the rovers robotic arm will merely point the open end of the sample tube towards the surface area of Mars and let gravity do the rest.

Still, to be thorough, we are likewise commanding the rover to take a second set of under-chassis images, just in case one or more pebbles happen to pop totally free.

Mars Perseverance Sol 320– WATSON Image: NASAs Mars Perseverance rover obtained this image utilizing its onboard SHERLOC WATSON imager. The image was acquired on Jan. 13, 2022 (Sol 320). On January 12 we did a detailed image study of the ground listed below Perseverance. We sent commands up yesterday, and later on today the rovers robotic arm will just point the open end of the sample tube toward the surface of Mars and let gravity do the rest.

And while this rock will never make my vacation card list, the science group truly appears to like it. If our plans go well with our pebble mitigation (see below), we might really well attempt to core “Issole” (the rock from which this sample was taken) again.
This brings me to the next actions in our pebble mitigation strategy: were sending out up commands to the rover later today, buying it to do two rotation tests of the bit carousel. These tests (the initially, a small rotation; the second, bigger) will execute this weekend. Our expectations are that these rotations– and any subsequent pebble movement– will assist our group, offering them the required info on how to proceed. Still, to be extensive, we are likewise commanding the rover to take a second set of under-chassis images, just in case several pebbles happen to pop totally free.
We expect the data and imagery from these 2 rotation tests to be sent out to Earth by next Tuesday, Jan. 18. From there, well analyze and more refine our plans. I would approximate well be at our existing location another week or so– or even more if we decide to re-sample Issole if I had to ballpark it.
There you have it. The Perseverance group is checking out every aspect of the problem to guarantee that we not only eliminate this rocky particles however likewise prevent a comparable reoccurrence throughout future tasting. Basically, we are leaving no rock unturned in the pursuit of these four pebbles.
Written by Jennifer Trosper, Project Manager at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory