Debris in the Perseverance Carousel

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This image of pebble-sized debris in the bit carousel of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover was captured on January 7, 2022 by the WATSON camera. The image was taken to help the Perseverance team diagnose an anomaly that occurred during rock sampling on December 29, 2021.

The supplemental image (Figure 1) shows an enlarged view of the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and Engineering) image, highlighting the location of sample debris. The area inside the blue box is approximately 6.5 square millimeters.

A subsystem of the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instrument, WATSON can document the structure and texture of a drilled or abraded target, and its data can be used to derive depth measurements .

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory built and manages perseverance and ingenuity operations for the agency. Caltech in Pasadena, California manages JPL for NASA. WATSON was built by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) in San Diego and is jointly operated by MSSS and JPL.

A key objective of the Perseverance mission to Mars is astrobiology, including looking for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the past geology and climate of the planet, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (shattered rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples on the surface and return them to Earth for further analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s approach to exploring the moon to Mars, which includes Artemis missions to the moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the red planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., Built and manages the operations of the Perseverance rover.

To find out more about Perseverance:

mars.nasa.gov/mars2020

nasa.gov/perseverance


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