NASA Baffled As Mars Rover Discovers Litter On The Red Planet
When something is found on Mars that is not part of its natural environment, the first inclination is to be very excited. But as the past has taught us, it more than likely is not as "alien" as we might hope. An example was when NASA's Mars Ingenuity Helicopter found remnants of Perseverance's backshell and parachute back in April of this year. Now, Perseverance has spotted another piece of litter on Mars. While it may be "alien" in nature to Mars, it is not to the rover's team back here on Earth.
The Twitter account for NASA's Perseverance Mars rover posted a tweet yesterday sharing an image captured by the rover. It begins the tweet by stating, "My team has spotted something unexpected," but then explains that the object in question is a piece of thermal blanket from when the rover made its descent onto the planet back in 2021.
In a statement to CNET, NASA JPL spokesperson Andrew Good remarked, "Less definite is which part of the spacecraft it came from - the team thinks the descent stage is a good possibility - or how exactly it got here."
The thermal blanket that attributed to the alien trash helped to regulate the temperatures experienced during the thrilling entry, descent and landing process. This is also known as the "seven minutes of terror." The descent equipment was designed to deliver the rover safely to the surface and then move away in order to protect the vehicle and its landing site.
Top Image Credit: NASA/JPL