NASA identifies strange object its rover found on Mars

When a spacecraft dramatically parachutes all the way down to a distant world, particles will inevitably litter the touchdown web site.

NASA has documented the various particles scattered by the 2021 touchdown of its high-tech Perseverance rover, together with a strange-looking ball of tangled, “spaghetti”-like materials, which the area company believes they’ve recognized.

“It should be noted that discarded debris are common in space missions,” NASA scientist Justin Maki wrote in a Mars weblog.


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NASA suspects the tangled detritus — which stirred intrigue on the web — is a bit of netting (known as “Dacron netting”) that’s utilized in thermal blankets to guard the spacecraft from excessive temperatures and situations, like when plunging by the Martian ambiance at some 12,000 mph. Elsewhere, the rover found different scattered remnants of thermal materials.

This specific ball of netting appears strange and tangled as a result of it was seemingly “subjected to strong forces,” NASA’s Maki concluded, maybe when a key a part of the rover’s touchdown gear crashed close by, leaving a plume of smoke rising from the Martian desert.

tangled debris on Mars

The Perseverance rover noticed this tangled particles in July 2022.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

crashed spacecraft debris on Mars

The crashed backshell from the Perseverance rover, which protected the robotic because it traveled by area and the Martian ambiance.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The car-sized rover will seemingly proceed to search out wind-strewn detritus because it scours the Martian floor for potential hints of previous, primitive life on Mars.

Importantly, NASA is watching to make sure any samples the rover collects aren’t probably contaminated by any Earth particles. “Perseverance team members are reviewing images of the debris, checking to see if the material may pose as a potential contamination source for the sample tubes from this area,” Maki mentioned. “Although there are no immediate concerns identified by the teams at this time, the teams are documenting the EDL [Entry, Descent, and Landing gear] debris materials as they are identified.”

Perseverance is rumbling by the Jezero Crater, a area planetary scientists say as soon as teemed with water, again when massive swathes of Mars have been blue, not crimson.

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