Images showing what has been called “otherworldly wreckage” on Mars have made headlines recently, yet the debris seen is actually parts of landing equipment used during NASA’s Ingenuity and Perseverance missions in 2021.
NASA reports that both its parachute and cone-shaped backshell were released at incredible speeds upon entry to Mars’ atmosphere, though their coating and 80 high-strength lines survived intact.
Scientists may have discovered what they believe are remnants of an alien spaceship on Mars. A team from NASA’s Curiosity Rover recently photographed what appeared to be rows of spikes, plates and wedges protrusion from rocks near Gale Crater 96 miles wide.
NASA’s Mars helicopter Ingenuity also captured an unsettling image as they flew overhead during this discovery mission.
Last year, Ingenuity was launched as part of an exploration mission to Mars. It is the first craft to ever complete controlled flight on another world and has so far completed 67 missions.
The spacecraft failed to fulfill its primary scientific objective of looking for extinct and present life on Mars; however, other tasks were successfully performed such as measuring water content in Martian atmosphere as well as exploring geological and mineralogy features of Mars.
Nasa’s Mars Polar Lander attempted to safely set down in its intended target region of Mars’ south polar region on December 3, 1999, yet never transmitted a final signal and was declared lost by space agency officials.
Nasa was left reeling by this misfortune, already having experienced trouble due to its failure of infra-red Mars Climate Orbiter mission last September. Engineers, navigators and scientists under immense pressure had struggled to match Viking’s success.
NIMA scientists pored over thousands of Mars Global Surveyor images taken near where Polar Lander is thought to have crashed and identified potential signs that it had come crashing down, such as bright spots suggesting it may have been parachutes and patches of disturbed soil, possibly caused by rocket blasts. But these initial findings were soon disregarded as higher resolution imaging instruments will soon arrive on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that will resume the search effort.
NASA helicopter footage captured in April showed what appeared to be debris from an alien spacecraft landing on Mars, prompting speculation of possible extraterrestrial visitations. As reported by The New York Times, however, this debris actually came from their landing equipment used to deliver Perseverance rover rover to Mars.
This debris, scattered across Mars’ landscape, is the back shell of a lander that became detached during its descent – so dangerous that experts refer to it as the “seven minutes of terror”. Engineers estimate it reached ground speed of approximately 78 miles per hour.
Mars Express is the longest-running orbiter to explore planet surfaces and atmospheres, using mostly commercial technology first used for ESA’s Rosetta mission to a comet. Additionally, Mars Express has proven invaluable in searching for past life on Mars as its high-resolution cameras scoured its surface and provided scientists with data regarding history, water resources and mineral abundance – not forgetting potential biosphere features!
As with any spacecraft landing on another world, debris from its dramatic descent often remains behind. A NASA-built helicopter which follows Ingenuity recently captured images showing what may be EDL hardware left behind after landing. Ingenuity first reached Mars in 2021 thanks to this piece of hardware which helped deliver it there.
These new photos taken during Ingenuity’s 26th flight on April 19 show its back shell splayed out across an area called Hogwallow Flats while its 70-foot wide parachute remains mostly intact. Teams are reviewing these images closely in order to assess any EDL materials which may pose contamination risk, prior to Perseverance returning samples back to Earth.
Car-sized rover Ingenuity is currently exploring Jezero Crater, a region believed by planetary scientists to once boast abundant bodies of water long ago. Her flights will explore this terrain for signs of past, primitive life; additionally she plans to scout out an ancient river delta rising 130 feet (40 meters) above the crater floor which features boulders, pockets of sand and jagged cliffs – her next target.