Perseverance has accomplished a variety of firsts for rovers, including some really innovative scientific work and (unintentionally) the first known off-word hit-and-run. Finding pieces of its own delivery system scattered around the Martian landscape is another odd event. They do appear to take on some really odd shapes. The rover discovered what looked to be some reflecting shining metal on Mars only a few weeks ago. When it was brought to the surface of Mars back in February 2021, it turned out to be a piece of its thermal blanket from that stage of its fall. Oddly, it was located more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away from Percy’s landing spot.
The daring six-wheeled adventurer has already discovered another piece of wreckage, which was probably from its sky crane. This object would badly resemble a Martian snake that has just lost its skin if we didn’t know better. Many have conjectured about what this shred of material may be since it was first brought to attention by Kevin M. Gill, an engineer and Martian photographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (home of the Mars missions).
On June 23, or sol 477 of the mission, Perseverance’s right MastCam-Z captured the image (sols are Martian days and last for 24 hours and 39 minutes). The debris, which is estimated to be 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) in size, was probably generated by the sky crane that was used to lower the rover to Mars. So it turns out to not be a space snake. But it’s not the only thing in the image that has folks worried.
There was a shockwave as the Perseverance rover landed on the surface of the Red Planet in 2020, beginning a new age of exploration on Mars, and there was a collective sigh of relief among astronomy fans worldwide. Perseverance’s adventure did not end with her arrival on a planet some 54.6 million kilometers (33.9 million miles) distant. The subject of his upcoming BBC film, Seven Days on Mars, was the theme of our conversation with Professor Brian Cox.
In the movie, we accompany Professor Brian Cox as he travels to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) to get a behind-the-scenes look at mission control for Mars 2020, one of the most ambitious missions ever undertaken that aims to determine whether there was previously life on the Red Planet.