For once, it’s not an optical illusion, a rock that looks like a rabbit or a landslide that looks like a door. The Mars exploration robot Perseverance has indeed come across an object of extra-Martian origin. Something that looks like a plate, stuck in a rock on the surface of the red planet.
NASA scientists did not have to come up with the most outlandish scenarios, they immediately understood what it was all about. “My team spotted something unexpected: It’s a piece of thermal blanket that may have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that dropped me off on landing day in 2021,” appears tell Perseverance himself on the Twitter account in his name, dated June 15.
If the mystery seems solved, however, remains an enigma: “It’s a surprise to find this here. My descent stage crashed 2 km away. Did the debris land there afterwards or was it blown here by the wind?”. One thing is certain, if Perseverance is full of scientific instruments, it is not designed to clean up its own waste that it leaves on the red planet.