NASA’s Mars Rover Has Done A ‘Twist on One Foot’ To Shake Off More Pebbles

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover did a little shimmy this week to loosen yet another pair of pebbles blocking its sample collection instrument.

“When you run into a challenge, sometimes it’s best to step back and shake it off,” wrote the rover’s Twitter account on Tuesday. “I reversed up onto some nearby rocks to get tilted and did a twist with one foot. Somewhere along the way I’ve shaken loose the other two pebbles in my sampling system.”

This news has come after a week when Perseverance shook off some of the rock fragments that had accumulated inside its “bit carousel,” the machine that transfers samples from the rover’s drill arm to storage inside the body.

Mars Rover Does “Twist on One Foot” to Shake Off More Pebbles

After that maneuver, though, two pesky pieces of rock stayed behind. Fortunately, those have also been dislodged now, thanks to the rover’s latest efforts.

The Perseverance team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab also decided at the time to completely empty out the rover’s sample tube by using the drill bit’s percussive power.

Perseverance will have to start from scratch for its next sampling attempt. In December, the rover originally cored a sample from a rock dubbed Issole, the rover’s sixth sampling attempt.

Mars Rover Does “Twist on One Foot” to Shake Off More Pebbles

Now, since the machine shook pebbles out of it, the sample has been returned to the Martian surface, as recorded by the rover’s Mastcam-Z camera.

It will only be some time before a significant sample is collected and help escalate the mission of returning to the moon.

“Back to sampling Mars soon!” the rover promised in its tweet.

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