What’s the “hairline object” imaged by Perseverance rover on Mars?
NASA scientists have been taken by surprise by the latest images sent back by Perseverance, with a hair-like object visible on the rover’s drill chuck.
NASA’s Perseverance rover has discovered another strange object on Mars. The latest images taken in the sampling area have surprised scientists, who have spotted something that looks similar to a strand of hair.
According to the information downloaded on 4 August from Perseverance, the 12th rock and sediment sample collected by the rover was successfully extracted, sealed and stored. Two pieces of debris were found in it, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory project manager Art Thompson said in a blog post on Friday: a small object on the coring bit (stored in the bit carousel) and a small “hairline object” on the drill chuck.
NASA investigating what object is, how it got there
Now, the NASA team is investigating where it came from and whether it originated from the rover or from external debris from the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) system that was discarded when Perseverance landed on Mars, in February 2021.
In addition, NASA is analysing other images of Perseverance’s workspace, the surface directly in front of the rover, “to see if there is any foreign object debris visible”, Thompson said. To do this, the turret at the end of the robotic arm will be rotated so that the drill chuck and bit carousel can be imaged from different angles.
Additional imaging and other diagnostic activities necessary to better understand the nature of these objects are also being considered.
America wants to know about Mars
The US space agency wants to know more about the magnetic field of Mars, so the rover will have to travel to the south of the planet to obtain this information.
The ultimate goal is to find out what implications the magnetic field of Mars has in relation to the loss of the Martian atmosphere. It is therefore necessary to obtain high-quality samples, so NASA needs to know how those rocks are oriented. This is where Perseverance’s SuperCam comes into play, allowing NASA to laser-engrave the Martian rocks with information a directional mark.