NASA's Perseverance Rover Just Found Trash On Mars

There is trash around 35,700 feet under the surface of the ocean. Now, there's also trash on Mars.

NASA's Perseverance rover recently detected landing debris stuck in a jagged rock while searching for signs of previous microbial life on Mars. The space agency used thermal material to shield the Perseverance spacecraft from extreme temperatures while it traveled to Mars and descended through the Martian atmosphere.

"My team has spotted something unexpected: It’s a piece of a thermal blanket that they think may have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that set me down on landing day back in 2021," NASA tweeted from the Perseverance rover account on Wednesday.

How the foil-like debris made its way to this spot in Mars' Jezero Crater, some two kilometers (1.2 miles) from where the landing gear (the "rocket-powered jet pack") landed in the Martian desert is a subject that remains unanswered.

The space agency asked, "Did this piece land here after that, or was it blown here by the wind?"

In February of 2021, the Perseverance rover landed on Mars with precision. On its descent, the spacecraft carrying the rover jettisoned a number of sensors and equipment, including a heat shield, a supersonic parachute, and a rocket-powered sky crane that dropped the rover to the surface. The car-sized robot has already met with its discarded parachute, so it is not unexpected that the rover has now met with other landing debris.

Reference: NASA

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