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Mars becomes Humen junkyard as NASA captured images of its own litter

This image was taken by Perseverance rover’s Mastcam-Z on June 13, 2022 (Sol 467). NASA JPL-CaltechASU

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured a shiny object on the surface of the Red Planet that is likely to be a piece of foil thermal blanket from a 2021 mission.

On Tuesday, while the Perseverance rover has been searching for signs of ancient microbial life in Jezero Crater, an ancient river delta the team spotted a shiny object.

The team shared on Twitter what seemed to be a piece of the thermal blanket used to control temperatures and protect the rover during the shocking entrance, descent, and landing phase, which is known as “seven minutes of horror.”

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Perseverance’s mission is also to gather dust and rock samples: Test a helicopter and investigate the environment and geology of Mars.

 In Feb 2021, Perseverance team tweeted after landing:  “A moment of respect for the descent stage. Within two minutes of safely delivering me to the surface of Mars, I caught the smoke plume on one of my Hazcams from its intentional surface impact — an act that protected me and the scientific integrity of my landing site.”

The image shows the plume where the descent stage crashed. NASA

Later on, the team found another piece left by the rover on Mars. The landing gear that allowed the Ingenuity and Perseverance rovers to reach Mars was photographed by the Ingenuity helicopter in April.

Image of a parachute and cone-shaped back shell that was captured on April 19. NASA JPL-Caltech

Ian Clark, a former Perseverance systems engineer who now leads the effort to transport Martian samples back to Earth at JPL in Southern California, said in a statement, “Perseverance had the best-documented Mars landing in history, with cameras showing everything from parachute inflation to touchdown.”



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