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Robotic arm movement of Mars rover set to move soon

NASA has announced that the robotic arm of Mars rover Curiosity is set to resume in a few weeks. A short circuit had caused the robotic arm of the rover to stop functioning and sensors detected a power surge on Feb.27.07mars-articleLarge

The rover management team stopped moving Curiosity or moving its arm after the rover automatically shut down itself waiting for further order from the facility. The diagnostic team continued to analyse the short circuit. The rover continued its science observation and whether monitoring while it was being tested. Curiosity project manager Jim Ericson stated that diagnostic testing confirmed the possible sources of transient short circuit.

“The most likely cause is an intermittent short in the percussion mechanism of the drill,” said Ericson.

The analysis will help the team of engineers to adjust the drilling movements in the future. The percussion mechanism is used to shake awy the powder from the drill after rock powdered rock samples are collected. The short circuit had reportedly occurred when the powder was transferred from the drill groves into a mechanism that separates the powder. The  arm is referred as Sol 911 came under fault protection though it was a minor glitch.

Researchers mentioned that the short circuit happened for less than one hundredth of a second during the third 180 up-and-down movement of the arm. Further tests will be conducted by the team over a few days to characterize the short circuit in the arm before it is moved and hoping that the arm would not face any issues when used in a different orientation. The robotic arm will then collect the sample that it  holds to the on-board laboratory. After resuming operations, the rover is set to climb 18,000 feet high Mount Sharp on the red planet.

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About Anirudh Madhav

A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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