The Perseverance rover landed on the Red Planet in February 2021, holding up a weather station dubbed Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) and other instruments. That instrument contains two wind sensors that calculate the speed and direction, among others that deliver weather metrics like humidity, radiation, and air temperature.
According to José Antonio Rodriguez Manfredi, pebbles carried over by powerful Red Planet gusts recently damaged one of the wind sensors. Yet, MEDA can still analyze the track of wind at its landing area in Jezero Crater, albeit with reduced sensitivity. Manfredi is the principal investigator of MEDA.
“Right now, the sensor is diminished in its capabilities, but it still provides speed and direction magnitudes,” Rodriguez Manfredi, the scientist at the Spanish Astrobiology Center in Madrid, announced through an email. “The team is now re-tuning the retrieval procedure to get more accuracy from the undamaged detector readings.”
Similar to all instruments on Perseverance, the wind sensor was built with redundancy and protection in mind, Rodriguez Manfredi reported. “But of course, there is a limit to everything.”
“Neither the predictions nor the experience we had from previous missions foresaw such strong winds, nor so much loose material of that nature,” Rodriguez Manfredi announced.