NASA has shared a photo of a bizarre tangled object on Mars, but hasn’t yet offered up any confirmation on what it actually is – leaving social media users to joke about what must obviously be ‘Martian spaghetti’.
The image was captured by the Perseverance rover, which has now been on Mars for more than 500 days after touching down in February 2021. It’s been busy searching the red planet for ›signs of ancient life, while also collecting samples of rock and soil.
While on its travels, the rover recently stumbled upon a strange object resembling strands tangled together in a clump.
Sharing the photo, which comes from one of Perseverance’s front-facing hazard avoidance cameras, the space agency said: “NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Right Hazard Avoidance Camera A.
“This image was acquired on July 12, 2022 (Sol 495) at the local mean solar time of 16:56:25.”
Naturally, without any clear confirmation on what it actually is, the good people of Twitter have taken it upon themselves to joke about what the object could be.
“Martian Spaghetti perfectly preserved for thousands of years,” one person said.
Another quipped: “Knew the Martians were Italian!”
A third said it was a ‘Martian with a bad hair day’, while a fourth added: “Why, Martian Tumbleweed of course."
Offering up a slightly more sensible suggestion, another tweeted: “What is that? A dried up shrub? Piece of rope?”
However, the most feasible explanation is believed to be a fairly simple one, with various reports suggesting the tangled clump is simply debris.
As CNET reports: “The most likely explanation for the tangle of material is debris from the mission. Perseverance has caught sight of its landing equipment leftovers from near and far. Notably, back in June the rover spotted a small piece of a thermal blanket wedged against a rock.”
Last month, NASA released similar images taken by the Perseverance, which showed space junk caught on Mars' surface that may have been shed during the rover's descent into the planet's atmosphere.
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
At the time, the rover's Twitter account posted: "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."
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