NASA engineers have carried out a plan to clean junk off the Perseverance Mars rover, which has been preventing it from correctly storing rock samples.

Perseverance, which is currently investigating Mars' Jezero Crater, has encountered a problem while gathering samples from the planet. It recently attempted to gather a sample from the rock Issole, but sensors identified an anomaly during the collection procedure, forcing the rover to halt its operations.

The problem was discovered to be in the Coring Bit Dropoff, which is a part of the sample gathering procedure. This is after the rover has taken a sample from the rock and drilled through it. The drill bit and sample tube must then be guided into the rover's carousel from the drill at the end of the robotic arm's robotic arm.

When the NASA crew received images of the problem, they discovered that fragments of the rock sample had fallen out of the tube and onto the bit carousel, and the rover relayed data to Earth suggesting that there was more resistance in the material's transition than predicted. As a result, a strategy was devised to extract the Martian rocks out of Perseverance's innards.

The team is shaking the pebbles loose by rotating the bit carousel. They're collecting data and imagery of Perseverance's movements as they happen to see if any debris has moved. The researchers examined and scanned the rocky floor underneath the rover last week, so if the rover's future images show extra material on the ground, the carousel-rotation strategy was successful. NASA anticipates receiving those data and images today.

"If I had to ballpark it, I would estimate we'll be at our current location another week or so - or even more if we decide to re-sample Issole," Jennifer Trosper, a project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wrote in a NASA blog post.

It's conceivable that Perseverance will give Issole another chance because Trosper said the rock was scientifically interesting. The rover will be ordered to perform two rotation tests of the bit carousel on Friday, which will take place this weekend.

In Perseverance's sampling routine, this pebble issue was not the first hiccup. NASA had to try some different approaches to really begin the rock collection after the rover's first sample attempt failed. Only seven of the rover's sample tubes have been filed so far. It's possible that the tubes will be sent back to Earth by the Mars Sample Return mission.