Engineers develop new technique to resume drill use on Curiosity


Readers!
 
Scroll down to read this post.
 
For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. They practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.
 
Thus, I must have your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Not only does the money pay the bills, it gives me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.

 

Please consider donating by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

 

You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

Engineers have successfully tested a new drill procedure on a duplicate rover on Earth that bypasses the problem in Curiosity’s drill.

The problem with the drill has been its feed mechanism, which pushes the drill bit downward as it drills its hole. The tests with the duplicate rover on Earth have instead had the drill bit fully extended and used the robot arm itself to push downward. It worked, but the problem on Mars is holding the drill bit perfectly straight and not slipping sideways. They are now doing a test with Curiosity to address this.

Curiosity touched its drill to the ground Oct. 17 for the first time in 10 months. It pressed the drill bit downward, and then applied smaller sideways forces while taking measurements with a force sensor. “This is the first time we’ve ever placed the drill bit directly on a Martian rock without stabilizers,” said JPL’s Douglas Klein, chief engineer for the mission’s return-to-drilling development. “The test is to gain better understanding of how the force/torque sensor on the arm provides information about side forces.”

This sensor gives the arm a sense of touch about how hard it is pressing down or sideways. Avoiding too much side force in drilling into a rock and extracting the bit from the rock is crucial to avoid having the bit get stuck in the rock.

Stay tuned for a Mars rover update, coming shortly!

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *