Not the Remains of a UFO (Really!)

Image (Credit): Remains of the parachute and backshell used to get NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

If you came across the wreckage above if your back yard you might think of a UFO or even Martians. Yet instead it is the remains of Earthlings on Mars.

The image comes from a little helicopter launched from NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. The Ingenuity Helicopter spotted the remains of the components used to bring the Perseverance rover to a safe landing on Mars last year. Here is more from NASA:

In the images of the upright backshell and the debris field that resulted from it impacting the surface at about 78 mph (126 kph), the backshell’s protective coating appears to have remained intact during Mars atmospheric entry. Many of the 80 high-strength suspension lines connecting the backshell to the parachute are visible and also appear intact. Spread out and covered in dust, only about a third of the orange-and-white parachute – at 70.5 feet (21.5 meters) wide, it was the biggest ever deployed on Mars – can be seen, but the canopy shows no signs of damage from the supersonic airflow during inflation. Several weeks of analysis will be needed for a more final verdict.

It makes me wonder about all the other debris spread across the martian surface. Martian winds will most likely cover much of the debris with time, unlike the surface of our Moon where the artifacts are likely to be apparent for a long time. You can see the impact of dusk on the Chinese Martial rover in an earlier story.

Image (Credit): Another view of the parachute and backshell used to get NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)