NASA on Friday stated that Mars Rover Curiosity is facing short circuits in its drilling arm that would limit drilling of rocks. The issue occurred after sensors faced a surge of current and Feb.27 and automatically stopped.
Curiosity waited for further instructions from the space agency’s station in Earth. The short-circuit happened as the rover was drilling rock powder similar to the five drilling routines during 2013 and 2014. The sample is then delivered to the on-board chemical laboratory. After the power surge, there were no further problems as it retracted is steps.
“The most likely location of the short-circuit is in the coil that generates a magnetic field,” said James K Ericson, project manager.
On Thursday, information of the second test was sent as the drilling was carried on in an up-and-down motion and a small surge was observed during the third stroke. However, the minor issues are not going to stall the $2,5 billion project as engineers will test and figure out the problem.
Erson stated that they would use small surges of current and use the rover until it stops moving. An overall test of the rover indicated that it was working without any problem. Currently, the rover is at the base of a 18,000-foot tall mountain where there is a wet rocky layer. Curiosity will climb the wet surface of the mountain named Mount Sharp to study how climate changed over time in the red planet.
Curiosity uses percussive mechanism to dust of particles from its arm. The robotic arm of the rover is expected to start moving by next week as engineers will try if the surge is removed when drilled in a different direction. Till now the rover has collected about five samples without any problem.[ Source ]