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Mars Rock Gets Caught in NASA’s Perseverance Rover

NASA MarsNASA’s Perseverance Rover “choked” on a rock sample. Credit: NASA CC BY-NC 2.0

NASA’s Mars Rover Perseverance got a rock sample lodged in its “throat” while collecting debris in December. The rover, which collected the sample at the end of last month, has been unable to fully process the rock.

“I recently captured my sixth rock core and have encountered a new challenge. Seems some pebble-sized debris is obstructing my robotic arm from handing off the tube for sealing/storage. More images and data to come. #SamplingMars takes perseverance,” read a statement posted to Twitter by the mission’s team members on Friday.

Perseverance is a six-wheeled, car-sized rover that is currently in the process of collecting Red Planet rock samples, of which this stuck pebble is the sixth. Problems arose when Perseverance attempted to transfer the sample, contained inside a titanium tube, into a “bit carousel,” a moving structure located on Perseverance’s chassis. It was during this pass-off that the sample got lodged in the rover’s machinery.

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