Instead of keeping the Curiosity Rover idle, NASA scientists have decided to go with the drilling course on Martian rock that was halted since February 27 due to short-circuit in its arm.
The Curiosity has completed 911 Martian days before a current fluctuation triggered the rover to halt its action. It is expected to resume arm movements this week while engineers will continue their observation of the intermittent electrical short circuit.
The diagnostic tests carried out so far have shown that its other vital organs are working and the rover is monitoring Mars environment and its weather station is perfect.
“Diagnostic testing this week has been productive in narrowing the possible sources of the transient short circuit,” said Jim Erickson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“The most likely cause is an intermittent short in the percussion mechanism of the drill. After further analysis to confirm that diagnosis, we will be analysing how to adjust for that in future drilling,” he said.
The ore-drilling robotic arm uses both rotation and percussion to penetrate into Martian rocks and collect rock material for delivery to its own analytical instruments inside for further processing.
The rover encountered electrical short circuit while transferring rock-powder sample from the grooves of the drill into a mechanism that sieves and portions the powder. Once fixed, Curiosity will shift its base and climb on to Mount Sharp.