No, this is not proof of advanced (but careless) Martian life.
Monday (June 13), NASA Rover of Perseverance snapped a photo of a shiny silver object wedged between two rocks on the floor of the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater, which the car-sized robot has been exploring since landing in February 2021.
This space bin is not native to March; Perseverance carried it from Earth, rover handlers said.
Related: 12 stunning photos of the Perseverance rover’s first year on Mars
“My team spotted something unexpected: It’s a piece of a thermal blanket that they believe may have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that dropped me off on the day of the landing in 2021,” the Perseverance team members wrote. via the rover’s Twitter account (opens in a new tab) today (June 15).
“This piece of shiny aluminum foil is part of a thermal blanket – a material used to control temperatures. It’s a surprise to find this here: My descent stage crashed at around 2km. [1.2 miles] a way. Did this piece land here after that, or was it blown here?” they added. another tweet (opens in a new tab)which featured a close-up of the cover bit.
This isn’t the first time we’ve taken a look at some of the gear that has helped Perseverance reach red earth safely. On April 19, NASA’s tiny Ingenuity the helicopter flew over the rover’s rear hull and parachute, take great photos from different angles.
This aerial imagery helps engineers assess the performance and condition of the rear hull and chute, which could inform the design of future Mars missions, NASA officials said.
This shiny piece of aluminum foil is part of a thermal blanket – a material used to control temperatures. It’s a surprise to find this here: my descent stage crashed at about 2 km. Did this piece land here after that, or was it blown here? pic.twitter.com/uVx3VdYfi8June 15, 2022
Perseverance is the hunt for the signs of the old martian life and collecting samples for future return to Earth. Billions of years ago, Jezero was home to a lake and a river delta and is therefore an ideal place to do such work, mission team members said.
The rover took many interesting photos that didn’t include remnants of its own protective gear. Over the weekend, for example, Perseverance broke a memorable snapshot of the Jezero Delta region which featured a rock in balance and a rock that looks surprisingly like a snake’s head with an open mouth.
Mike Wall is the author of “The low (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).