NASA, the US space agency, announced this week that its robot perseverance found “something unusual” on the surface of Mars (see photo above).
It is a piece of aluminum foil that the agency’s scientists believe was part of a thermal blanket used to protect the robot before its landing on the red planet.
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The unusual thing about this, according to NASA, is the fact that the material was found about 2km away from the Perseverance landing site.
“It’s a surprise to find this here,” says the robot’s official social media account.
“That piece landed here after that [do impacto]or was it carried away by the wind?”, asks NASA.
Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide, argon, nitrogen and a small amount of oxygen. According to NASA, the winds in strong dust storms on the planet can cause gusts of more than 90 km/h.
Landing of the Perseverance robot on Mars. — Photo: Reproduction / NASA
The robot landed in February 2022, in the Jezero Crater, a region of the planet that was once a lake for billions of years.
Perseverance is on the planet as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.
The aim of the project is not only to better understand the formation and early evolution of the star, but also to analyze the history of the geological processes that shaped Mars over time and to scientifically interpret the potential of the planet to have hosted life.
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In addition, the mission also aims to help the understanding of the science of Martian geology, something fundamental for the preparations of a possible manned trip to the planet.
Since the arrival of Perseverance on the red planet, the NASA robot has already taken several curious photos. See more here.