Mars, Perseverance: Talking about drilling on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — While the rover is focused on movement, drilling is suspended and the sampling team is studying the data received at the moment.

What information do we get from drilling, and how do the rocks we have drilled so far compare with each other?

First of all, we look at how difficult it was for the drill to advance in the breed. The rover is equipped with a percussion-rotary drill, which means that the drill also rotates and hits the rock. When coring or blasting, the algorithm controls force and impact.

We call this algorithm “prodapt”, short for proprioceptive adaptive, because the drill adjusts its settings by sensing and evaluating its own performance in real time.

The goal is to try and maintain a certain forward speed, neither too slow nor too fast. The speed we strive for keeps our bits healthy and creates high quality cores and abrasives for scientists.

The algorithm can vary from level 0 to level 20. At levels 0 to 2, there is no percussive work at all, which we call rotary drilling.

(We never do rotary drilling only – these low levels are only used in core sampling). Level 3 has light percussion, and percussion and strength increase all the way to maximum strength and maximum percussion at level 20.

If the drill feels that it is not cutting through the rock fast enough, it will increase the level of impact force. If he feels that he is moving too fast, he will level down.

One note: although hard formations often require higher levels, the interaction between drill and rock is complex, so the prodapt level does not always match the strength of the rock.

The rock may require a high level of drilling, but break easily if a different type of tool is used.

The sampling team is looking forward to reaching the delta and drilling in the new area. Meanwhile, the rover continues to move forward and recently covered a distance of 8 km.

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