A discarded thermal blanket has been found on Mars by the NASA Perseverence Rover.
The rover’s Twitter account posted a photo of the human-made rubbish trapped between rocks on the planet.
“My team has spotted something unexpected: It’s a piece of a thermal blanket that they think may have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that set me down on landing day back in 2021,” the tweet said.
“That shiny bit of foil is part of a thermal blanket – a material used to control temperatures.
“It’s a surprise finding this here: My descent stage crashed about two kilometres away. Did this piece land here after that, or was it blown here by the wind?”
The rover was wrapped in thermal blankets prior to its departure to Mars to control the machine’s temperatures.
Scientists believe the thermal blanket was discarded on the planet during the rover’s descent but are now trying to work out whether it landed there or was blown there by wind.
The Perseverance Rover landed on Mars in February 2021 and is collecting data about the planet.