More than a year touring Mars and NASA’s Perseverance rover continues with surprise encounters. Of course this is not proof of some Martian civilization, it is garbage that traveled from Earth. That piece of shiny aluminum foil was part of a thermal blanket that protected the robot.
“My team has found something unexpected: It’s a piece of thermal blanket that they think may have come from my descent stage, the booster rocket that landed me on landing day in 2021,” read the rover’s official Twitter account. .
My team has spotted something unexpected: It’s a piece of a thermal blanket that they think may have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that set me down on landing day back in 2021. pic.twitter.com/O4rIaEABLu
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 15, 2022
“That piece of shiny aluminum foil is part of a thermal blanket, a material used to control temperature. It’s a surprise to find this here: My descent stage crashed about 2km away. Did this piece land here after that, or was it blown away?”
This is not the first time that a Martian explorer has found a piece that was used for transportation and landing. The Ingenuity helicopter recently captured Perseverance’s parachute and rear shell.
Unlike this time with the piece of aluminum, which seems to be a chance find, NASA had planned to photograph the parachute. The agency explains that Mars Sample Return program engineers asked if Ingenuity could get a closer look. The photos have the potential to help ensure safer landings for future spacecraft, like the Mars Sample Retrieval Lander.
What can be seen in the image is the parachute that helped the Perseverance rover to land on Mars. Closer up is the cone-shaped rear shell that protected the rover in deep space and during its fiery descent to the Martian surface on February 18, 2021.
In all, a total of 10 color aerial images were captured on April 19 during Ingenuity’s 26th flight. The image below shows Perseverance’s rear casing standing upright on the surface of Jezero Crater, taken from an altitude of 8 meters by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter.
The rear shell protected the rover during its turbulent descent to the Martian surface. It also houses additional thrusters that are fired during the guided entry portion, descent, and landing. Inside the top of the rear shell is the container from which the parachute is released during descent. Ingenuity was in the “belly” of the Perseverance rover.
Landing on Mars is tough, not only for the engineers on Earth, but also for the vehicle that endures the gravitational forces, high temperatures and other extremes that come with entering the atmosphere at about 12,000 mph. What we see in the images are just some of the components that allowed the rover to reach the Martian surface safely, but despite this, these observations can provide valuable ideas for future missions.
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