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Space and PhysicsAstronomy

Perseverance Found Some Unexpected Trash On Mars

A fragment of its descent module was spotted far away from the landing site, with no clear idea of how it got there.

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJun 16 2022, 14:33 UTC
The fragment of the thermal blanket spotted by Perseverance between two rocks.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU
The fragment of the thermal blanket spotted by Perseverance between two rocks.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

It seems like a constant of humanity is to leave trash behind wherever we go. From the bottom of the Mariana Trench to the top of the Himalayas, we can find garbage. Other worlds are apparently not immune to this, as NASA’s Perseverance is documenting. The rover has snapped a picture of what appears to be a bit of foil stuck between rocks.

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The industrious rover has already re-encountered a piece of tech it dropped last year, leading to the first self-driving hit and run on another planet. Ingenuity, the Mars helicopter, also spotted the wreckage of the landing gear that delivered it and Perseverance safely to Mars.

But it appears that the rubbish has spread out further afield. 

"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," Perseverance's Earthly representatives tweeted on June 15.

It is unclear how the fragment got there, roughly 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from where the descent stage photographed by Ingenuity is located. It might have broken apart before the crash-landing or perhaps it was blown there by the wind.

Between peculiar rock formations and bits of garbage, Perseverance is finding some really cool stuff in this ancient river delta that once upon a time fed water to the Jezero Crater. Maybe the rover will discover the ultimate cool find, like evidence of the existence of ancient life on the Red Planet. 


Space and PhysicsAstronomy
  • Mars,

  • Astronomy,

  • Perseverance