Debris in Perseverance's Bit Carousel
This image of pebble-sized debris in the bit carousel on NASA's Perseverance Mars rover was acquired on Jan. 7, 2022, by the WATSON camera. The image was taken to assist the Perseverance team in diagnosing an anomaly that occurred during a rock sampling on Dec. 29, 2021.
The supplemental image (Figure 1) shows a zoomed-in view of the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) image, highlighting the location of the sample debris. The area within the blue box is roughly 6.5 millimeters squared.
A subsystem of the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instrument, WATSON can document the structure and texture within a drilled or abraded target, and its data can be used to derive depth measurements.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory built and manages operations of Perseverance and Ingenuity 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 operated jointly by MSSS and JPL.
A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, 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, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.
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