The surface of Mars has been visited by several spacecraft, and each unintentionally left behind pieces of trash.
Since humanity first laid eyes on Mars as a star-like object in the night sky, it has always drawn human attention. It is true of both Indian myths and Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters. About 50 years ago, humans began exploring Mars, and by the 2030s, NASA hopes to send a human mission there for the first time.
Although it is still a long way off for humans to step foot on Mars, we are not lagging in our efforts to litter the red planet and make it more like Earth.
According to Cagri Kilic, a postdoctoral research fellow in robotics at West Virginia University, “the adventurous robotic explorations by human beings have already left more than 7118.6 kilogrammes of human waste on the red planet.”
The mass of all Mars rovers and orbiters was analyzed to arrive at this estimate, which was then subtracted into the group ones still operational.
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. pic.twitter.com/O4rIaEABLu
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 15, 2022
According to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, different nations have sent 18 human-made spacecraft to Mars over 14 other missions.
NASA announced in mid-August 2022 that the Perseverance Mars rover had discovered a piece of garbage thrown after landing. And that was not the first time researchers have found waste on Mars. There is a considerable amount of trash debris there.
Our extraterrestrial helicopter spotted the parachute and back-shell that guided the @NASAPersevere rover to the surface of Mars over a year ago.
Mr. Kilic said, “Debris on Mars comes from three main sources: discarded hardware, inactive spacecraft, and crashed spacecraft. Every mission to the Martian surface requires a module that protects the spacecraft. This module includes a heat shield for when the craft passes through the planet’s atmosphere and a parachute and landing hardware so that it can land softly.”
Another significant source of garbage is the fragments of destroyed spacecraft.
At least two spacecraft have crashed, while four more have lost contact just before or immediately following landing.
Kilic says the littered material on Mars’ surface might affect future missions.