NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover will most likely resume using its arm movements next week, according to NASA chiefs who are still going to proceed investigating what seems to be an sporadic short-circuit in the drill.
A vacillation in power at the end of last month set off a fault-defense reaction that instantly ended activity by the rover during the mission’s 911th Martian day. From that point onward, the rover operators have stopped driving Curiosity or moving the probe’s arm, while specialists have concentrated on symptomatic tests. Observations of Mars conditions with instruments on the rover’s pole have proceeded, alongside climate tracking by its weather station.
Curiosity Project Manager Jim Erickson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California noted that recent tests have manged to narrow down the likely sources of the intermittent short out. Erickson further explained:
“The most likely cause is an intermittent short in the percussion mechanism of the drill. After further analysis to confirm that diagnosis, we will be analyzing how to adjust for that in future drilling.”
The specimen- gathering drill on Curiosity’s automated arm relies both on rotation and throbbing, or percussion, to get into Martian rocks and gather small-grained rock samples for the analytic tools within the rover.
The blackout on Sol 911 happened while the probe was moving rock-powder tests from the scores of the drill into a system that screens and parts the powder. The percussion activity was also on, to shake the powder down from the drill.
Experts got results Thursday, March fifth, from a test on Curiosity that likewise employed the drill’s percussion activity. During the third out of 180 all- over rehashes of the activity, what seemed to be short out happened for under one-hundredth of a second.
Even if little and brief, it would have been sufficient to set off the flaw defense that was active on Sol 911 under the given parameters at the time.
The rover group intends to further test to get a clear view of the transient short-circuit before the arm is moved from its current position. After those tests, the team hopes to wrap up analyzing the specimen powder that the arm presently holds and afterward to convey allotments of the sample to embedded research instruments. Next, Curiosity will restart going up Mount Sharp.
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project is employing Curiosity to evaluate ancient livable areas and significant changes in Martian natural conditions. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, constructed the rover and oversees the venture for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Image Source: NASA