Over the past 50 years, humans have left more than 15,000 pounds of trash on Mars, and no one has ever set foot on the red planet.
Cagri Kilic, a postdoctoral researcher in robotics at West Virginia University, analyzed the mass of all rovers and orbiters sent to Mars and subtracted the weight of currently orbiting objects, yielding 15,694 pounds of debris.
The junk includes discarded hardware, inactive spacecraft, and those that crashed to the surface—especially the Soviet Mars Orbiter 2, which crashed in 1971.
Not only are humans already contaminating another planet, but scientists fear the debris could contaminate samples being collected by NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is currently searching for ancient life on Mars.
One scientist calculated that there is 15,694 pounds of trash on Mars.Much of it stems from discarded hardware, such as the insulation blanket that protected NASA’s Perseverance surviving the hellish atmosphere
Much of the junk is unavoidable, as many parts must be discarded to protect the spacecraft soaring through the red planet’s hellish atmosphere — including NASA’s Perseverance, which endured seven days when it touched down in February 2021. minutes of hell.
The rover, which is collecting samples on Mars and bringing them back to Earth, has captured images of the trash during its mission.
In June, NASA’s Earth team spotted a distant beam of light in images sent back by Perseverance, and they then instructed the rover to make observations.
A few weeks later, Perseverance entered the Hogwaro Plains region and obtained a high-resolution 360-degree Mastcam-Z panorama.
Ingenuity helicopters captured images of the landing equipment used during Perseverance’s arrival.Pictured are the parachute and the conical rear shell that protects the rover in space
As recently as June, Perseverance discovered a piece of shredded polyester mesh that helped it land safely on Mars
Due to the Martian wind, the tight web begins to unravel and is seen three weeks later as a knotted ball of rope-like material
The images show that the bright light is a reflection of the thermal blanket.
This is used to protect car-sized vehicles from the extreme temperatures encountered when landing.
The blanket was tucked into the corner of a few rocks and seemed to reflect light.
The rover’s companion Ingenuity helicopter also captured images of the landing equipment used when it arrives with Perseverance in 2021.
A parachute and the conical rear shell protecting the rover in space, and its fiery descent to the Martian surface, are seen in incredible detail.
As recently as June, Perseverance discovered a piece of shredded polyester mesh that helped it land safely on Mars.
Due to the Martian wind, the tight web began to unravel, and three weeks later was seen as a knotted ball of rope-like material.
NASA’s Opportunity rover is now dead on Mars, but in 2004 it sent a photo of the heat shield, along with debris scattered on the ground for miles.
There are nine inactive spacecraft on Mars, including the Mars 3 lander, the Mars 6 lander, the Viking 1 lander, the Viking 2 lander, the Sojourner rover, the European Space Agency’s Sharpa The Rayleigh lander (pictured), the Phoenix lander, the Spirit rover, and the Opportunity rover
Then there are the dead robots on Mars, specifically NASA’s Opportunity rover, which was active from 2004 to mid-2018.
The rover, which weighs about 347 pounds, the same as a hippo, is now trapped in Martin’s dirt.
However, it left behind a pile of junk as it traversed the red planet.
It sent a photo of the heat shield to NASA in 2004, along with debris scattered on the ground for miles.
There are nine inactive spacecraft on Mars, including the Mars 3 lander, the Mars 6 lander, the Viking 1 lander, the Viking 2 lander, the Sojourner rover, the European Space Agency’s Sharpa The Rayleigh lander, the Phoenix lander, the Spirit rover, and the Opportunity rover.
According to Kilic, most of the robots are still intact, and the space agency sees them as historical monuments rather than discarded junk.
“When you add up the masses of all the spacecraft that have ever been sent to Mars, you get about 22,000 pounds (9979 kilograms),” Kilic wrote in The Conversation.
“Subtract the weight of the spacecraft currently operating on Mars — 6,306 pounds (2,860 kilograms) — and you’re left with 15,694 pounds (7,119 kilograms) of human remains on Mars.”