Mars Rover Mission Progresses Toward Resumed Drilling

75 views Leave a comment

NASA’s Mars corsair Curiosity group is operative to revive Curiosity’s sample-drilling capability regulating new techniques. The latest growth is a basic exam on Mars.

The five-year-old goal is still several months from a soonest probable resumption of drilling into Martian rocks. Managers are eager about successful Earth-based tests of techniques to work around a automatic problem that seemed late final year and dangling use of a rover’s drill.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars corsair conducted a exam on Oct. 17, 2017, as partial of a corsair team’s growth of a new approach to use a rover’s drill. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We’re usually move with due counsel to rise and exam ways of regulating a corsair differently from ever before, and Curiosity is stability prolific investigations that don’t need drilling,” pronounced Deputy Project Manager Steve Lee, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Curiosity overwhelmed a cavalcade to a belligerent Oct. 17 for a initial time in 10 months. It pulpy a cavalcade bit downward, and afterwards practical smaller laterally army while holding measurements with a force sensor.

“This is a initial time we’ve ever placed a cavalcade bit directly on a Martian stone but stabilizers,” pronounced JPL’s Douglas Klein, arch operative for a mission’s return-to-drilling development. “The exam is to benefit improved bargain of how a force/torque sensor on a arm provides information about side forces.”

This sensor gives a arm a clarity of hold about how tough it is dire down or sideways. Avoiding too many side force in drilling into a stone and extracting a bit from a stone is essential to equivocate carrying a bit get stranded in a rock.

Curiosity has used a cavalcade to acquire representation element from Martian rocks 15 times so far, from 2013 to 2016. It collected powdered stone samples that were delivered to laboratory instruments inside a rover. On any of those occasions, dual hit posts — a stabilizers on possibly side of a bit — were placed on a aim stone while a bit was in a cold position. Then a motorized feed resource within a cavalcade extended a bit forward, and a bit’s revolution and percussion actions penetrated a rock.

The drill’s feed resource stopped operative reliably in Dec 2016. After exploring possibilities of restoring a feed mechanism’s trustworthiness or regulating it notwithstanding unreliability, a plan set a priority to rise an choice routine of drilling but use of a feed mechanism. The earnest choice uses suit of a robotic arm to directly allege a extended bit into a rock.

This print taken in a “Mars Yard” during NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, on Aug. 1, 2017, shows a step in growth of probable choice techniques that NASA’s Curiosity Mars corsair competence be means to use to resume drilling into rocks on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We’re replacing a one-axis suit of a feed resource with an arm that has 5 degrees of leisure of motion,” Klein said. “That’s not simple. It’s advantageous a arm has a force/torque sensor.”

The sensor’s categorical use until now has been to guard for a force so extreme of expectations that it would automatically hindrance all arm suit for a day. The new “feed-extended” drilling uses it to recompense for side loads. This exam will assistance engineers establish how information from a sensor can be used many effectively.

Using this method, a near-twin of Curiosity during JPL has collected drilled samples from Earth rocks. The group has also grown methods to broach drilled samples to a laboratory-instrument inlets on a exam rover’s rug but use of a drill’s feed mechanism. Development of this choice sample-transfer technique is indispensable since a routine used formerly depended on carrying a bit in a withdrawn, rather than extended, position.

“The growth work and contrast here during JPL has been promising,” Lee said. “The subsequent step is to consider a force/torque sensor on Mars. We’ve done extensive swell in building feed-extended drilling, regulating a rover’s versatile capabilities over a strange pattern concepts. While there are still uncertainties that might mystify attempts to cavalcade on Mars again, we are optimistic.”

The rover’s stream plcae is on “Vera Rubin Ridge” on reduce Mount Sharp. Curiosity is impending a tip of a 20-story-tall ridge. It has been study a border and placement of a iron-oxide vegetable hematite in a rocks that make adult a erosion-resistant ridge.

Source: JPL

Comment this news or article