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posted by janrinok on Saturday August 21 2021, @04:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the wrong-kind-of-rock dept.

NASA's Perseverance to attempt second Mars soil scoop, hoping rocks don't 'crumble':

NASA's Perseverance rover will drive to a new location in the coming weeks to drill for its first Mars soil sample, scientists say, weeks after the robot's first attempt resulted in an empty sample tube.

[...] Now the rover, a science lab on wheels that landed on Mars in February, will drive to a new location called Citadelle for a second shot at picking up its first rock sample. This time, to make sure a sample is actually collected, engineers will wait for images of the sample tube to come back before it gets processed and stowed inside the rover’s belly.

“We were just super excited that the hardware worked from beginning to end without any faults. And then there was that surprise — ‘No sample? What do you mean no sample?’,” Louise Jandura, the Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching on NASA’s Perseverance team, says of the first attempt on August 5th. “So quickly, after that sunk in, we started to do the investigation.”

The rock that Perseverance’s sampling drill bit dug into wasn’t as sturdy as scientists thought it’d be. What was supposed to be a fairly solid rock core turned out to be a crumbly powder that slipped out of the rover’s sampling tube. After finding the sample tube was empty, mission staff used the rover’s cameras to analyze remnants of the hole that Perseverance drilled. They figured the mound of dust around the hole and some material at the bottom of the hole were what slipped out.

“The rock simply wasn’t our kind of rock,” Jennifer Trosper, Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “Although we had successfully acquired over 100 cores in a range of different test rocks on Earth, we had not encountered a rock in our test suite that behaved in quite this manner.”


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Mars Rover Comes Up Empty in First Try at Getting Rock Sample 13 comments

Perseverance fails at first sample collection? At Endgadget

NASA's Perseverance rover just had a rare misstep. The space agency has revealed that the robotic vehicle failed to collect Mars rock samples during its first attempt. While the percussive drill, coring bit and sample tube processing worked "as intended," a probe indicated that the tube was empty — not exactly what scientists were expecting when everything else checked out.

Scientists are still investigating what happened and may not have an answer for a few days. Perseverance project manager Jennifer Trosper said the team suspected the rock might have reacted in an unexpected way during the coring process. The equipment is likely fine, in other words.

The Martian surface has created problems more than once. The Phoenix Lander had trouble gathering "sticky" soil in 2008, for instance, while Curiosity and InSight have also had trouble cracking into rocks and the surface itself.

Of course, there is not yet a mechanism in place to retrieve the tubes, if they managed to get filled. But if at first you do not succeed, practice saves stitching early worms.

And secondly:

NASA's newest Mars rover has come up empty in its first attempt to pick up a rock sample to eventually be brought back to Earth

The rover Perseverance drilled into the floor of the planet's Jezero Crater to extract a finger-sized sample from slabs of flat rocks. The drill seemed to work as intended, but it appeared no rock made it into the sample tube, the agency said Friday.

[...] The next step will be using a camera mounted on a robotic arm to inspect inside the hole "and see what's down there," said NASA project scientist Ken Farley. He said they might see the broken rock core, or might discover the sample had turned to sand. "The rock properties might be different than[sic] we expected," he said.

[...] NASA aims to collect up to 31 samples in tubes and stash them for pickup in about a decade. Plans call for the samples to be brought to Earth in the early 2030s in another mission with the European Space Agency.

Full story: https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/mars-rover-empty-1st-rock-sample-79326299


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  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday August 21 2021, @05:09PM (3 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 21 2021, @05:09PM (#1169331) Journal

    Are they going to "scoop" up some soil, or are they going to drill a rock? I can go out to my garden right now, and scoop up soil with almost no effort. Getting a core sample of sandstone would take a bit of work. A core sample of granite would take considerably more work.

    But, no, they aren't scooping anything, and it isn't soil that they are after.

    --
    We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
    • (Score: 1) by dcollins55 on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:05PM (2 children)

      by dcollins55 (15202) on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:05PM (#1169385)

      Since you are being pedantic, and hopping on the "technically incorrect" wagon, I should point out that you are technically incorrect.

      The article makes a clear distinction between the drilling apparatus, and the scooping arm. They talk about how the scooping arm worked, but didn't scoop anything up. The news at the time was "we tried to scoop, it didn't scoop anything". Then they investigated the causes and found it to do with the drill. They are now hoping that the next time they try to scoop, there will be something in the scoop.

      Now, the reason they couldn't scoop anything is because of the drill. Those are called details, and that's why we read the article. The title is not for details - it's a title, and in this case completely appropriate.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:12PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:12PM (#1169387)

        soil?

        • (Score: 1) by dcollins55 on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:21PM

          by dcollins55 (15202) on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:21PM (#1169391)

          A "mars soil scoop" - a procedure - would be to scoop a scoop into martian soil. Which would include any rocks the drill crumbled into it. I am not sure what you are confused about. Go scoop some soil. I guess if there's a rock in your shovel, you didn't scoop the soil?

          Or are we talking about soiled uderwear, because someone confused by this likely cannot properly wipe?

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:01PM (15 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:01PM (#1169343)

    Louise Jandura, the Chief Engineer

    Jennifer Trosper, Project Manager

    Remember when Bill Clinton was trying to get an Attorney General confirmed?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nannygate [wikipedia.org]

    What are the odds that the top three most qualified people for that job were all women?

    Maybe being a woman was more important than their actual qualifications?

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:07PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:07PM (#1169345)

      Sounds like someone's feeling a bit insecure.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @12:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @12:50AM (#1169466)

        Maybe something failed to work? Your brain on Earth, and sampling drill on Mars?
        Feminism undoubtedly caused the first failure, so it is conceivable the second too is related to the same cause.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Tork on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:31PM (2 children)

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:31PM (#1169356)

      Maybe being a woman was more important than their actual qualifications?

      Maybe a lot of the problems you have in life are self-inflicted.

      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @12:52AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @12:52AM (#1169467)

        Maybe your spending your life virtue signalling is not healthy.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @12:57AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @12:57AM (#1169468)

          "I just came by to announce that I don't virtue signal." 🙄

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:36PM (#1169358)

      None of which behaved similar to the martian rock, I would hazard a guess that insufficient humidity has caused insufficient cementation of sediment on mars, leading to this 'rock' actually being more soil-like in consistency. Since they hadn't attempted to sample like this on Mars before, it is entirely possible the wrong tool was sent for the job. Unless they have been onboard since the design of the rover and were directly involved in the terrestrial testing and design, it's unlikely they are in any way at fault. And given how often things succeed at NASA it makes it hard for most to understand that failures are quite common especially in unexplored phenomena (something we have far fewer of today, and many of which have computer models or simulatons to help discover unusual properties before we experiment with them directly. This rock apparently did not.)

      While we're on the subject, go read up on women at NASA dating back to the 1950s-60s. Hint: There are a lot of them and if it wasn't for the sexism of the era many could have been in positions of leadership or even landed on the moon.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:48PM (4 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 21 2021, @06:48PM (#1169363) Journal

      My question for you would be, "What do you know about those women?" And, your answer would probably be "Almost nothing."

      No, don't bother finding their biographies online. I wanted to know what you know about the women. Were you classmates in college with them? Are you married to them? Did you date them? Do you know their parents and siblings? Are you a sibling? A cousin even? Have you ever even them?

      Unless you can produce evidence that they are actually unqualified for the jobs they have, you are completely irrelevant.

      Have you been recently passed over for a promotion, and some woman got the job instead? Maybe she was actually better qualified than you are. Bummer, dude.

      --
      We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @01:08AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @01:08AM (#1169470)

        Which is exactly the problem with quota-based promotion. People came to "know about those women" (and all other women) that promotion-because-woman is a thing.
        It devalues the actual achievement, like Olympic medals would be devalued if (when?) some of them got distributed according to quotas.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @04:08AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @04:08AM (#1169504)

          Only amoungst beta males, like yourself.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @10:32AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @10:32AM (#1169562)

            Omega proud of its status? How quaint.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @05:32PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22 2021, @05:32PM (#1169635)
              Says the highly stable geniouse who doesn't realise it stops at epsilon.
    • (Score: 1) by dcollins55 on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:29PM (3 children)

      by dcollins55 (15202) on Saturday August 21 2021, @08:29PM (#1169393)

      The engineer and a PM have nothing to do with each other. If you're seeing a conspiracy because in a team of 100+ there are two women, there is something mentally wrong with you.

      As far as your Nannygate - yes, that article is talking about several women, nominated for completely different positions. Out of hundreds of positions Clinton filled with both men and women.

      If you take a mixed pool, pick only the women from that pool, then scream "something is wrong here, there are only women in this pool" - you are correct. Something is very wrong. You should get an MRI to find out what. Maybe they have pills that will help you stop being a "niceguy" one day.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday August 22 2021, @05:35PM (2 children)

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Sunday August 22 2021, @05:35PM (#1169636) Homepage
        But he didn't pick only women. He picked every single named individual in the summary, there was no sampling bias from him. In fact, that's not even a sample - that's the population.
        --
        Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
        • (Score: 1) by dcollins55 on Sunday August 22 2021, @08:28PM (1 child)

          by dcollins55 (15202) on Sunday August 22 2021, @08:28PM (#1169676)

          When you write a paragraph completely agreeing with someone, you usually wouldn't start that paragraph with "But". Your English is very good, but a little unpolished. But practice makes perfect.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @04:18PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 23 2021, @04:18PM (#1169896)

            But he was disagreeing, not agreeing. Also don't forget this is the English language we're talking about. There are no rules. That is why Strunk and White wrote "The Elements of Style" and not "The Rules of English Grammar."

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Saturday August 21 2021, @10:03PM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Saturday August 21 2021, @10:03PM (#1169406)

    "Ok, *now* I'm on my way in to the office after I got my lunch out of the fridge. Wait, I just set my keys down here -- where did they go?"

    Like the rover doesn't have the same problems every one of us has had multiple times in our lives. The big surprise here is that they didn't consider this possibility during pre-launch testing.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @10:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 21 2021, @10:40PM (#1169414)

    Scoop these rocks.

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