Curiosity’s balky drill: The problem and solutions

20170906_1780ML0091950000702009E01_DXXX_f840[From Emily Lakdawalla’s blog at The Planetary Society] Curiosity is heavier, more capable, and more expensive than its rover predecessors in order that it can acquire samples of Martian materials and deliver them to two sophisticated laboratory instruments inside the rover belly. Since December 1, 2016, Curiosity has been unable to perform that function because of a serious problem with one of the drill’s motors. Engineers have been hard at work on the problem ever since, and there is now realistic hope that the drill can be returned to function, but they’ll have to use it in a way it wasn’t designed for. As I did before for Curiosity’s wheels, I’ll explain how the drill works, the nature of the problem, the work being done on Earth to understand it, and the path forward for Curiosity…. [More at link]

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