‘Unexpected’: NASA Mars Rover Finds Piece of Its Landing System Stuck on a Rock

 

This story is a component of Welcome to Mars, our sequence exploring the pink planet.

 

Remember that Sesame Street tune One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others)? NASA’s Perseverance rover noticed one thing that was not just like the others on Mars. On June 13, Percy snapped a photo of a rock that had a strange-looking object caught on it.

The object is a piece of foil with dots seen all throughout it. “My workforce has noticed one thing sudden: It’s a piece of a thermal blanket that they suppose could have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that set me down on touchdown day again in 2021,” the rover team tweeted on Wednesday.

NASA JPL spokesperson Andrew Good instructed CNET the piece is unquestionably from a thermal blanket. “Less particular is which half of the spacecraft it got here from – the workforce thinks the descent stage is a good risk – or how precisely it obtained right here (descent stage crashed two kilometers away; whether or not it landed right here after that crash or was blown by the wind is not one thing we all know),” Good stated in an electronic mail.

A more in-depth have a look at the piece of foil exhibits the common dots throughout its floor.

 


NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

The rover managed to seize the demise of the descent stage after touchdown on Mars in February 2021. The descent tools was designed to ship the rover to the floor after which scoot away to guard the automobile and its touchdown website. The crash created a seen smoke plume within the distance.

The blankets helped to manage temperatures in the course of the dramatic entry, descent and touchdown course of, which is also called the “seven minutes of terror.”

Percy’s social media handlers highlighted the people who make the thermal blankets, saying, “Think of them as spacecraft dressmakers. They work with stitching machines and different instruments to piece collectively these distinctive supplies.” An picture exhibits samples of the blanket supplies, together with ones with dots that match the piece seen on Mars.

Percy is testing an historic river delta area contained in the Jezero Crater. The rover workforce is hoping to search out proof of historic microbial life on Mars, so a spot with a historical past of water is a prime place to analyze and acquire rock samples that may hopefully be returned to Earth for examine.

The delta has already confirmed to be extremely scenic, as this stunner of a panorama exhibits. The foil discovering provides a layer of intrigue to the rover’s explorations. How it obtained there may be a thriller that is perhaps left for future house archeologists to resolve once they go to Mars some day.


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