NASA is looking into an odd mystery object attached to their special Mars chopper.
Experts noticed something peculiar stuck to Ingenuity, the space agency’s helicopter used to search for signs of life on the Red Planet.
The debris was spotted just as the bot successfully carried out its 33rd flight.
Nasa official calls such things foreign object debris (FOD).
The flappy thing eventually fell off and landed back on the martian surface.
“This FOD was not visible in Navcam footage from the previous flight (32),” Nasa said.
“The FOD is seen in Flight 33 Navcam imagery from the earliest frames to approximately halfway through the video, when it fell from the leg and drifted back to the Mars surface.
“All telemetry from the flight and a post-flight search and transfer are nominal and show no indication of vehicle damage.
“The Ingenuity and Perseverance Mars 2020 teams are working to discern the source of the debris.”
Nasa’s robots on Mars stumble on quite a bit from time to time.
Usually it ends up being debris from past missions.
Manmade objects are scattered across the surface of Mars from decades of exploration dating back to the first crash landing on the red planet in 1971.
Over the summer, Nasa found a spaghetti-like substance.
It turned out to be netting from a mission in February 2021, when Ingenuity and its rover companion on the ground Perseverance arrived to Mars.
The rover has also previously caught a glimpse of its own thermal blanket wedged in the jaws of a dinosaur-shaped rock.
Perseverance – What’s on board?
Perseverance boasts a total of 19 cameras and two microphones, and carries seven scientific instruments.
- Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL)
An X-ray “ray gun” that will help scientists investigate the composition of Martian rock.
2. Radar Imager for Mars’ subsurface experiment (RIMFAX)
A ground-penetrating radar that will image buried rocks, meteorites, and even possible underground water sources up to a depth of 10 metres (33ft).
3. Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA)
A bunch of sensors that will take readings of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, and other atmospheric conditions.
4. Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE)
An experiment that will convert Martian carbon dioxide into oxygen. A scaled-up version could be used in future to provide Martian colonists with breathable air.
A suite of instruments for measuring the makeup of rocks and regolith at a distance
A camera system capable of taking “3D” images by combining two or more photos into one.
7. Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC)
From Baker Street to Mars: Sherloc contains an ultraviolet laser that will investigate Martian rock for organic compounds.
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