The Mars rover “Perseverence” has discovered a piece of garbage on its mission. NASA publishes a photo on Twitter.
In a post on Twitter on Wednesday, the team on NASA’s Mars rover “Perserverence” published a photo and commented that something unexpected had been discovered. A piece of junk, obviously of human manufacture.
But how does the garbage get on Mars? NASA’s explanation for the unusual find: It is probably a piece of thermal blanket that is said to have come from a rocket-powered jetpack that dropped the rover on the red planet in 2021. The thermal blankets are normally used to regulate the temperature.
Garbage on Mars: origin clarified, but experts are still puzzled
However, the NASA experts agree: It is surprising to find the shiny piece of garbage at this point on Mars. The position of the rock where the piece of garbage was found is 2 kilometers away from the original deposition site. Space agency officials are wondering if it landed there or if gusts of wind carried it there.
In February 2021, the “Perseverance” rover landed on Mars. A variety of instruments and other objects were dropped on its way to the surface. Among them was a heat shield, supersonic parachute and rocket powered sky crane.
Due to the thin Martian atmosphere, there are always no dust storms on Mars that can reach around 100km/h. However, they have less pressure than on Earth. The conditions under which dust storms form on Mars are still being researched. Whether one of these storms transported the foil to this point has not been investigated.
The Perseverance rover team will probably not invest much more time to find out. The Nasa rover is currently in the main part of its mission and will explore a dry river delta in the Jezero crater. The researchers suspect that this river was filled with water 3 billion years ago. “This delta is one of the best places on Mars for the rover to look for signs of microscopic life,” NASA says.