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Below the Martian Surface: Using JMP to Improve Rock Abrasion & Dust Removal on the Mars 2020 Rover (2019-US-30MP-231)

Level: Beginner


Iona Brockie, Mechatronics Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Kristopher Kriechbaum, Mechatronics Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory


The Mars 2020 Rover will use new cameras and spectrometers to continue the search for evidence of past life on Mars. However, these instruments will reveal the most information if they can gain access to what is below the weathered outer layer of Martian rock. To expose what is underneath, the rover will carry a rotary percussive drill and pressurized gas. JMP was used to determine what drill, gas and rock parameters were most critical for abrading and dust removal performance. Design of experiments provided a backbone for a test plan that appropriately spanned the design space within a manageable number of tests. The data analytics and visualization in JMP helped cut through the noise inherent to working with the inconsistencies of real rock to reveal important conclusions about the most effective use of the tool. The results from this testing and analysis will allow improved in-situ science to occur on this mission.