The NASA Mars rover dumps pesky pebbles that stopped tapping its sampling system

The NASA Mars rover dumps pesky pebbles that stopped tapping its sampling system ...

These pebbles interfered with the Perseverance rover's ability to bury a rock sample tube.

When Mars gives you pebbles, you give them back.

When some of its internal handling systems were filled with rocks, the Perseverance rover became increasingly problematic.

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The issue occurred along the rover's bit carousel, which passes the sample tubes inside for processing. On Friday, NASA commanded the rover to rotate the carousel. It worked. The upper two pebbles were kicked out. "This is great news, as these small chunks of debris are believed to be the cause of the unsuccessful transfer of the drill bit and sample tube into the carousel.

You can see how the largest pebbles are now cleared out.

Onward!Details: Two smaller ones are still lower down, but may not be an issue.

There's still a small amount of debris left, but it may not cause any problems for the sampling process, and those bits may fall out as the rover moves around.

The rover needed to accomplish the task by focusing the pebbles. The team found it would be appropriate to reuse the tube for a fresh sample if necessary.

A NASA Perseverance rover and an Ingenuity helicopter explore the wilds of Mars.

The rover examined its handiwork and found some rocks on the ground. Follow-up images show the tube can be reused, possibly for re-sampling the original rock that kicked off the pebble problem

Perseverance's work involves collecting rock samples. NASA is planning a future and brings them back to Earth for a study.

The pebbles saga is a good example of the flexibility and creativity that a robot can have to be successful on Mars. Like when the rover's flying helicopter companion comes into play, Perseverance will return to building its rock collection fairly soon.

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