The Mars Perseverance rover crew at NASA discovered an surprising piece of extraterrestrial trash because it roamed the Red Planet lately. But the litter shouldn’t be as “alien” as one would possibly suppose.

When one thing is discovered on Mars that isn’t a part of its pure atmosphere, the primary inclination is to be very excited. But because the previous has taught us, it greater than possible shouldn’t be as “alien” as we’d hope. An instance was when NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter discovered remnants of Perseverance’s backshell and parachute again in April of this yr. Now, Perseverance has noticed one other piece of litter on Mars. While it might be “alien” in nature to Mars, it’s not to the rover’s crew again right here on Earth.

The Twitter account for NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover posted a tweet yesterday sharing a picture captured by the rover. It begins the tweet by stating, “My team has spotted something unexpected,” however then explains that the article in query is a chunk of thermal blanket from when the rover made its descent onto the planet again in 2021.

In a follow-up tweet the crew stated the “shiny bit of foil” was a part of the thermal blanket used to manage temperatures. While it might be apparent as to what the article is, the crew is much less sure about which a part of the spacecraft it originated from and the way it arrived at its present location. The descent stage crashed 2 km away, and the crew is not certain if the piece discovered its means there in the course of the descent course of, or was carried there by wind afterward.

In a press release to CNET, NASA JPL spokesperson Andrew Good remarked, “Less definite is which part of the spacecraft it came from – the team thinks the descent stage is a good possibility – or how exactly it got here.”

The thermal blanket that attributed to the alien trash helped to manage the temperatures skilled in the course of the thrilling entry, descent and touchdown course of. This is often known as the “seven minutes of terror.” The descent tools was designed to ship the rover safely to the floor after which move away so as to shield the automobile and its touchdown site.

Top Image Credit: NASA/JPL