Sunday, June 26, 2022

Nasa discovers “unexpected” object on red planet

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NASA’s Mars rover has spotted an unexpected piece of spacecraft on the red planet’s surface.

The Perseverance lander discovered “something unexpected,” it said: what appears to be a piece of metal hidden among Martian rocks.

The Nasa team piloting the lander believes it is a piece of thermal blanket that Perseverance likely shed on the surface during its landing.

It was likely part of the descent phase, Nasa said – the “rocket-powered jetpack” that lowered the rover to the planet when it arrived last year.

NASA doesn’t know how the blanket would have gotten to that specific spot on Mars. And it will likely increase concerns about humanity’s impact on space after warnings that we are contaminating old rocket and spacecraft parts in orbit and on other planets.

The find was announced by Perseverance’s Twitter account, which posts in the lander’s voice.

The team also shared images of the thermal blankets on Earth – which look remarkably similar to the object spotted on Mars.

Nasa and other space agencies are taking great precautions to avoid contaminating other planets, including intensive cleaning of landers before they leave Earth. Perseverance and other Mars rovers are searching for signs of extraterrestrial life – and that search could be ruined by any organisms brought from Earth.

But the USA and other countries are also committed to not disturbing the untouched nature of other planets. However, this has been in doubt as some countries have circumvented international agreements to keep potentially dangerous debris in orbit.

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