The Perseverance rover, which is exploring Mars, made a curious record: a piece of aluminum foil between martian stones. The object is part of a thermal blanket — a kind of blanket — that protected the rover during its landing on the red planet.
According to the space agency, the piece of blanket was found about two kilometers away from the landing site of Perseverance – which arrived on the red planet more than a year ago. The agency believes he must have come from the jetpack (photo below), a descent module that uses retrorockets to slow the probe and smoothly drop the rover onto the surface.
Space junk on Mars
Amazingly, finding debris on Mars is not uncommon. In April of this year, the Ingenuity helicopter took this photo of the Perseverance’s rear shield and parachute, amid a debris field. However, finding the thermal blanket so far away from the landing site was a big surprise.
NASA raises the question of whether the blanket fell between the rocks during the landing or if it was carried by the wind there. As much as this seems like a trivial question, NASA is interested in answering this question, as it generates insights for the agency’s engineers about how the components of a probe behave during the entry, descent and landing procedure on Mars.
Perseverance landed on Mars in February 2021 and its primary mission is to search for signs of ancient microbial life on the planet. In addition to studying the geology and climate of our Solar System neighbor – paving the way for future manned space missions – the rover has been collecting and storing Martian rocks and regoliths for future probes to bring to Earth over the next decade. .