spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy

NASA Investigates Mysterious Objects Perseverance Caught In Sample System

The rover sure seems to be encountering a lot of trash in its quest for great science.

A squiggly piece of wiry thread or something similar stuck in the rover's samply system
A thread-like structure is visible in this image of the drill chuck. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech, edited by IFLScience

NASA’s Perseverance is studying Mars's Jezero crater delta, the region it flew across interplanetary space for. And while a lot of science is being carried out, Perseverance has encountered some unexpected trash on Mars, mainly debris from the lander that delivered it safely, which crashed kilometers from Perseverance's current location. Now, the rover has found more weird stuff, although it might be from the rover itself.

Perseverance collected and sealed its 12th sample last week and then, as standard procedure, it took images of the sample system components, just to make sure everything was OK. When the NASA team back home downloaded them, they saw something unexpected.


“In those images, two small pieces of debris were visible – a small object on the coring bit (stored in the bit carousel) and a small hairline object on the drill chuck," Art Thompson, Project Manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote in a blog post.

A look stright down ito the drill system that Perseverance uses tot drill rock samples. Caught near a bolt appears to be a piece of wiry thread
The image of the debris was acquired on August 4, 2022. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

"The team is now looking into the origin of the debris, and whether it originated from the rover or external debris from the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) system that was jettisoned at the start of the mission,” Thomspon wrote.

Over the weekend the mission team collected more images to try and work out the nature of the objects. The analysis will be shared in due course.

spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy
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  • Perseverance