Is it tumbleweed? A piece of fishing line? macaroni?
An entangled object discovered by NASA’s Mars Perseverance spacecraft has piqued the interest of space watchers, leaving some questions about the quality of Italian food on the Red Planet.
But the more plausible explanation is more realistic: it is likely the remains of a component that was used to bring the robotic rover to the surface of Mars in February 2021.
“We were discussing where it came from, but there is speculation that a piece of rope from the parachute or from the landing system is what lowers the probe to Earth,” a spokesperson for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told AFP.
“Note that we have no confirmation of this or that,” he added.
The debris pack was first spotted on July 12 by the rover’s left front-facing camera – but when the Perseverance returned to the same spot four days later, it was gone.
It was likely carried by the wind, like a piece of a thermal blanket that may have come from a rocket-powered landing system, which was spotted last month.
The accumulated rubbish left by persistence is a small price to pay for the rover’s lofty scientific goals of searching for the vital fingerprints of ancient microbial life forms.
These items may one day become valuable artifacts for future Mars colonists.
Amateur astronomer Stuart Atkinson wrote on Twitter: “In a hundred years or so, the Martians will eagerly collect all these things and put them in museums or turn them into ‘historic jewelry.
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© 2022 AFP
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