TANTRUM – Humans have left more than 15,000 pounds equivalent to 6,800 kg of trash on Mars in the last 50 years.
Cagri Kilic, a postdoctoral research fellow in robotics at the University of West Virginia, USA, analyzed the mass of all rovers and orbiters sent to Mars and minus the weight of the current mission, yielding 15,694 pounds (7,118 kg more) of debris.
Taken from the Priangan Zone, Saturday, September 25, 2022, this trash includes discarded hardware, dormant spacecraft and those that have fallen on its surface, specifically the Soviet Union-shipped Mars 2 orbiter that crashed on landing in 1971.
Not only have humans polluted the planet, but scientists fear this debris could contaminate samples collected by the Perseverance rover, which is currently searching for life on Mars.
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Most of this trash is unavoidable, this part will be disposed of after protecting the spacecraft as it penetrates the Martian atmosphere.
Including NASA’s Perseverance which lasted seven minutes when it landed in February 2021.
The rover, which collects samples on Mars to bring to Earth, captured images of the debris during its mission.
Among them shows the bright light reflected off a thermal blanket, which is used to protect the Martian vehicle from the extreme temperatures when it lands.
Ingenuity helicopters also captured images of the landing gear used during Perseverance’s arrival in 2021.
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Perseverance also caught Dacron’s net which helped during its smooth landing on Mars.
Then there is the dead robot on Mars, the Opportunity rover which was active from 2004 to mid-2018.
The rover weighed about 347 pounds (157 kg), the same weight as a hippopotamus, and is now starting to be buried in Martian soil.
There are a total of nine inactive probes on Mars, including the Mars 3 lander, Mars 6, Viking 1, Viking 2, Sojourner vehicle, ESA’s Schiaparelli lander, Phoenix lander, Spirit and Opportunity rover.
According to Kilic, most of the robots are still intact and the space agency considers them historical monuments rather than discarded trash.
“If you add up all the masses of spacecraft ever sent to Mars, it’s about 9,979 kilograms,” Kilic wrote in The Conversation.