The Perseverance rover from Nasa sends back photographs of desolate desert landscapes, red-hued sandstorms, and Martian regularly. So its operators were taken aback when they saw an image on Monday of a gleaming silver object stuck between two boulders that looked like an abandoned crisp packet.
The object is a piece of debris discarded by the robotic probe during an idea down February 2021, according to the Nasa crew.
“My team has discovered something unexpected: a fragment of a thermal blanket that they believe came from my descending stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that landed me on landing day in 2021,” the Perseverance Twitter account claimed.
“That gleaming piece of foil is part of a thermal blanket, a temperature-controlling substance. My descent stage crashed around 2 kilometers away, which is a pleasant surprise to find here. Was this piece blown here by the wind, or did it land here after that?”
The Outer Space Treaty
Concerns that space exploration could contaminate the pure Martian and lunar habitats have resurfaced due to the image. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 established an international legal commitment to safeguarding outer space, the moon, and other celestial bodies from hazardous pollution. However, others claim that the regulation is not precise enough to ensure protection.
According to The Guardian, Prof Andrew Coates, a space scientist at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, said of the Perseverance litter: “That’s good news.
Prof Andrew Coates, a space scientist at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, said of the Perseverance litter: “The good news is that everything is sterilized before it goes to Mars, and the space radiation environment, as well as the harsh surface environment, helps during the nine-month trip to Mars.”
“Because landing on Mars is so difficult due to the thin atmosphere,” he explained, “landers always have associated landing system hardware that lands on the surface – parachutes, backshells, and landing systems – like the sky crane for Perseverance and Curiosity, airbags, and retro rocket systems for earlier missions.” “These ‘fly off into the sunset’ from the landing place and crash, but the risk of contamination is minimal.”