NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover runs into puzzling sampling conundrum

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has stumbled into a subject subject at some level of its first sampling strive.


“#SamplingMars is one amongst my most complex projects. Early pics and data present a a hit drill gap, but no pattern within the tube–one thing we’ve by no approach seen in sorting out on Earth,” the rover’s Twitter legend launched on Friday. “Mars keeps surprising us. We’re working thru this recent drawback.”

In a originate from the company, the Southern California-primarily based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) which leads the mission wrote that data sent support to Earth after Perseverance’s first rock sampling strive indicated “no rock modified into gentle.”

The 2,260-pound rover carries 43 titanium pattern tubes in its mission to see attention-grabbing rocks and sediment – potentially ensuing in indicators of extinct microbial lifestyles on the purple planet – and is exploring Jezero Crater: the pickle where it first landed in February.

“Whereas that is now not the ‘gap-in-one’ we hoped for, there is repeatedly possibility with breaking recent ground,” Thomas Zurbuchen, accomplice administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., acknowledged in a assertion. “I’m assured we now own the staunch crew working this, and we are able to persevere toward one procedure to develop obvious future success.”

JPL notes that Perseverance’s Sampling and Caching System makes utilize of a “hollow coring bit and a percussive drill” on the tip of its long robotic arm to extract the samples.

The drill and bit had been engaged as planned at some level of its first strive and the pattern tube modified into processed as modified into supposed.

Perseverance's Navigation Camera Image of First Borehole: The drill hole from Perseverance’s first sample-collection attempt can be seen, along with the shadow of the rover, in this image taken by one of the rover’s navigation cameras. 

Perseverance’s Navigation Digicam Image of First Borehole: The drill gap from Perseverance’s first pattern-collection strive might maybe maybe even be seen, alongside with the shadow of the rover, on this image taken by one amongst the rover’s navigation cameras.
(Credit ranking: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“With out a doubt one of many steps that occurs after inserting a probe into the collection tube is to measure the amount of the pattern,” Perseverance surface mission supervisor Jessica Samuels defined extra. “The probe didn’t attain at some level of the expected resistance that might maybe be there if a pattern had been at some level of the tube.”

The Perseverance crew is working to create a response crew to analyze the info, including snapping shut-up shots of the borehole with the robotic arm’s WATSON (Vast Perspective Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) digicam.


The rover is having a peek at two items within the home containing the crater’s “deepest and most extinct layers of uncovered bedrock,” named the “Crater Floor Fractured Tough” and “Séítah.”

Whereas the “Crater Floor Fractured Tough” is on the crater’s ground, “Séítah” has ridges, layered rocks and sand dunes.

Perseverance Sample Tube No. 233: This image taken by NASA’s Perseverance rover on Aug. 6, shows that sample collection tube No. 233 is empty. It is one of the pieces of data sent to Earth by Perseverance showing that the rover did not collect any Martian rock during its first attempt to core a sample. 

Perseverance Sample Tube No. 233: This image taken by NASA’s Perseverance rover on Aug. 6, reveals that pattern collection tube No. 233 is empty. It is one amongst the items of data sent to Earth by Perseverance showing that the rover didn’t net any Martian rock at some level of its first strive to core a pattern.
(Credit ranking: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“The preliminary pondering is that the empty tube is extra seemingly a results of the rock target now not reacting the approach we expected at some level of coring, and fewer seemingly a hardware order with the Sampling and Caching System,” Jennifer Trosper, project supervisor for Perseverance at JPL, acknowledged. “Over the next few days, the crew will seemingly be spending beyond regular time examining the info we now own, and likewise acquiring some extra diagnostic data to offer a salvage to working out the foundation cause for the empty tube.”

JPL renowned that previous NASA missions on Mars own “encountered surprising rock and regolith properties at some level of pattern collection and other actions.”

The company hopes to salvage up eight of its pattern tubes sooner than Perseverance returns to its landing house and readies to lag to Jezero Crater’s delta pickle for its 2nd science campaign.

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