A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.

SCIENCE & TECH: NASA spots ‘shiny metal foil’ on Mars in strange photo – can you solve the mystery?

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NASA has stumbled across an “unexpected” shiny object on Mars.

The space agency’s Perseverance rover spotted the metal foil-like item during a routine wander.

But before you start speculating about aliens, the truth behind is a lot closer to home.

It turns out the material is one of NASA’s own.

Experts revealed the “surprise” finding on Twitter and say it appears to be a piece of a thermal blanket.

They think it may have been from when Perseverance descended onto the Red Planet back in 2021.

More specifically, it may be from the rocket-powered jet pack.

Zooming in on the image shows tiny dots which are normal for a thermal blanket.

Speaking to CNET, a rep for NASA said they’re certain it’s part of a thermal blanket but are less sure about which part of the spacecraft.

“Less definite is which part of the spacecraft it came from – the team thinks the descent stage is a good possibility – or how exactly it got here,” explained Andrew Good from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.
NASA
A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life.
NASA figured out where the metal came from.
NASA
A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.
The mystery material isn’t from aliens.
NASA

“Descent stage crashed two kilometers away; whether it landed here after that crash or was blown by the wind isn’t something we know.”

Not everyone was impressed with the discovery though.

Some commented on the fact that NASA is essentially littering on Mars.

“No humans there yet and we’ve already left litter,” one said.

“We the humans have successfully put our trash out there even before putting our feet,” another complained.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.



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