A Mars Rock Appears to Be Stuck in Perseverance Rover’s Wheel

The stone sitting inside the interior of one of Percy's six aluminum wheels, in an image captured on February 25, 2022.

The stone sitting inside the inside of one among Percy’s six aluminum wheels, in a picture captured on February 25, 2022.
Picture, NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Perseverance rover has involuntarily adopted a touring companion, within the type of a stone that is lodged in one among its six aluminum wheels.

An picture captured by Perseverance’s Onboard Entrance Left Hazard Avoidance Digicam, or Hazcam for brief, exhibits the interloper sitting on the inside of a wheel. The rover should’ve kicked up the rock whereas exploring Jezero Crater, the place it is been working because it landed on Mars in February 2021.

The image was taken on February 25, 2022, however a comparable picture taken 5 days later confirmed the rock nonetheless firmly in place. The stone, it might seem, is now a cussed fixture of the $2.2 billion rover. It is not recognized when the rock managed to hop aboard, however sleuthing by C|Internet reporter Amanda Kooser suggests it has been there since at the very least February 6, 2021.

A Hazcam image taken on March 2, 2022 shows the rock still firmly in place.

A Hazcam picture taken on March 2, 2022 exhibits the rock nonetheless firmly in place.
Picture, NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rock seems to be a beauty pleasure and never something that is at the moment hindering the rover’s progress. A minimum of we hope. I reached out to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to verify that the rock isnt at the moment posing an issue, and can replace this text ought to I hear again.

That Perseverance’s 20.7-inch-wide (52.2-centimeter)) wheels are capable of face up to this sudden intrusion just isn’t an enormous shock. The rover was fitted with upgraded wheels to forestall the wear-and-tear seen on NASA’s Curiosity rover. Every aluminum wheel is fitted with 48 cleats that enhance traction and curved titanium spokes that present bouncy help. The upgraded wheels are additionally narrower, with a thicker and extra sturdy thread, as Morten Bo Madsen, a Mars 2020 challenge scientist and astrophysicist on the Niels Bohr Institute, instructed Gizmodo in 2020.

Perseverance is at the moment backtracking in direction of the Octavia E. Butler touchdown web site, and it is driving longer distances than at some other time in the course of the mission. Mission planners are hoping to gather extra floor samples earlier than the rover reaches Jezero’s delta, the place it’s going to use its Mastcam-Z and SuperCam devices to review its construction and mineralogy.

This is not Percy’s first pebble downside: In January, particles received into the rover’s equipment following a rock pattern extraction. Fortunately, the rover managed to dislodge these pebbles, which had been clogging its pattern cache system.

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