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“We didn’t foresee this.” Mars rover Perseverance damaged

“We didn’t foresee this.” Mars rover Perseverance damaged
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In February 2021, the Perseverance rover made its landing on Mars. It also has a weather station, the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer. It includes two wind sensors to measure speed and direction as well as several sensors that can read weather indicators like humidity, radiation and temperature.

Space was informed by Jose Antonio Rodriguez Manfredi, Principal Investigator at MEDA, that a rock thrown up by strong winds on the Red Planet damaged one of its wind sensors. However, MEDA can still track wind in the Jezero landing area with reduced sensitivity.

The sensor’s current capabilities are limited but it still provides speed, heading and other values. To get better readings from an unaffected sensor, the entire team is re-configuring the search process.

Six sensors surround the wind sensors, which should provide accurate readings in all directions. An arm attaches to each of the main wind sensors and can be deployed to move them away from the Mars Rover as it moves. .

The wind sensor, like all instruments on Perseverance has protection systems. However, there is a limit to everything. A stronger gust of wind than anticipated lifted a large boulder that caused severe damage.

This was something we didn’t anticipate. We didn’t foresee this. Neither our forecasts nor the previous missions we had been on, could have predicted such strong winds or such large amounts of loose material.

Jose Antonio Rodriguez Manfredi

Perseverance, together with the Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance, landed on Mars February 18, 2021. They are currently exploring an ancient river Delta that may have been rich for microbes billions years ago.

 

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