NASA’s Perseverance Rover discovered a mysterious string on Mars. The string was in an area that NASA hadn’t explored yet. However, the space agency doesn’t believe that the string is extraterrestrial in nature. Instead, they believe it may be from the Perseverance’s landing. And that it ended up here thanks to Mars’ strong winds.
Mysterious string found on Mars may have a mundane origin
Perseverance discovered the mysterious string in an area of the Jezero Crater that we haven’t explored yet. The rover’s front left hazard avoidance camera captured an image of the string. These hazard cameras have previously given us glimpses of Perseverance’s pet rock and help it avoid hazardous terrain while navigating the Martian surface.
While NASA can’t verify what the mysterious string on Mars is with complete certainty, the Perseverance team believes that it could just be leftover from the rover’s landing process. To land safely on Mars, Perseverance utilized a rocket-powered jet pack system. This allowed the team to safely bring the rover down to the Jezero Crater without suffering any dangerous impacts.
What is most intriguing about the mysterious string that Perseverance found is that the rover had not previously been in that area of the crater before. As such, NASA personnel believe that the string may have been moved there by the wind. This possibility seems most likely, as Perseverance revisited the site four days later, and the object had vanished.
Finding junk on Mars
Perseverance has made several discoveries during its time on the Martian surface. But this fragment of mysterious string found on Mars isn’t the first piece of junk the rover has stumbled upon. Back in mid-June, the rover discovered a shiny fragment of foil. NASA says the foil was most likely remnants of the thermal blanket that helped regulate the rover’s temperature during its journey.
This blanket, and now the mysterious string found on Mars, have continued to fuel concerns that we could junk up other planets by sending spacecraft and rovers to them. We’ve already created a ton of space junk around Earth, so many are concerned we could cause similar issues as we explore our universe.
Of course, that concern isn’t unwarranted. But it isn’t as big of a deal as many make it. The missions to Mars so far have been minuscule when it comes to creating junk on the planet’s surface. And there’s always going to be some kind of cost when exploring unknown worlds. Additionally, NASA is looking deeper into the mysterious string on Mars to verify its origin.