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The plan for clearing Perseverance’s sample carousel of debris

Debris in core sample carousel on Perseverance
Click for full image.

The Perseverance science team yesterday outlined the first steps in their plan to remove pieces of debris that had fallen into the core sample bit storage carousel, as shown by the picture to the right, and thus prevents them from storing further core samples.

First they have taken pictures of an area of the ground below the rover to establish a baseline. Then,

With this below-chassis, preliminary imaging, in hand, the team [will return] the remaining contents of Sample Tube 261 (our latest cored-rock sample) back to its planet of origin. Although this scenario was never designed or planned for prior to launch, it turns out dumping a core from an open tube is a fairly straightforward process (at least during Earth testing). We sent commands up yesterday, and later on today the rover’s robotic arm will simply point the open end of the sample tube toward the surface of Mars and let gravity do the rest.

This maneuver will tell them exactly how much material broke off the core when some pieces of it dropped into the carousel.

Next, on January 18th, they will have the bit carousel perform two short rotations, the first short and the second longer, to shift the debris in the carousel and get more information about it. Some might drop out with this maneuver, so they are also going to take more ground pictures to see if any did.

They have not yet outlined the next steps in this removal procedure, though they have said the need for this procedure was anticipated when the rover was designed. Thus they must know what those steps will be, but are likely holding off outlining them because they might need to revise their actions depending on what they learn in the next few days.

Conscious Choice cover

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Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


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  • BtB’s Original Mark

    Bob – Bravo Zulu for the Saturday post. FYI – Studies have even reported that up to 70% of people work at least one weekend a month, and about 35% of employed Americans are working on any given weekend. Also fyi there is a heated discussion currently on the Weightlessness article from yesterday, and your input would be appreciated.

  • Jeff Wright

    Just drive up a small rise and it will slide into the hole.

  • wayne

    I like, that type of thinking!

  • Jeff Wright and Wayne:

    Remember, it’s 0.3G. And while there is no scale, it may be unlikely there is rise enough nearby to move the material. And it’s cold. The material may be frozen to the structure.

  • pawn

    Maybe the vibration from driving over some distance or into a rock might dislodge something. The arm itself could definitly wack something if done in a conservative manner.

  • wayne

    point taken.
    Q: is this the lander with the laser?

  • Edward

    Blair Ivey wrote: “And it’s cold. The material may be frozen to the structure.

    Keep in mind that the atmosphere is fairly dry, so if it is frozen to the structure it is probably not water ice but may be carbon dioxide ice (dry ice). Is Perseverance cold enough for dry ice to form? It doesn’t look like it.

  • This is the equatorial regions. There is no water ice or dry ice in the air or on the surface, at all.

    However, it seems too many people watch too many modern sci-fi movies and think all you need to do is regulate the transmonitor in the electron tube and the resulting energy will blow debris away. :)

    Fixing this on a robot tens of millions of miles away on an alien planet is not simple. The science and engineering teams have apparently thought this out in detail in design, and are now very carefully attempting it in practice.

    One point: They don’t want the material to fall in the hole, as that will then block its use for good. They want to dislodge it so that it falls out entirely. If you look close at the two large pieces, the top one seems weakly balanced in the air, and might fall out with little problem. The bottom one I think will be more problematic.

  • wayne

    Star Trek Next Gen

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