But the most plausible explanation is actually quite simple: According to some hypotheses, it could have been the pieces of rope connecting the rover to the parachute that were used to slow its descent as it descended. Or to the one she used to descend during the last meters (a stage called “Sky Crane”). Perseverance has already found itself face to face several times with the equipment that allowed it to land on Mars.
“It can be assumed that these small pieces of debris were moved by the wind after landing,” a NASA spokesperson commented. And they may still be moving: a few days after the wires picture was taken, the rover is back in the same place, but it’s gone.
These images were taken by the rover in an ancient river delta, which scientists believe flowed into a huge lake billions of years ago, and where perseverance searches for traces of ancient life. Instead of a lake today: Jezero Crater, where the rover landed in February 2021. And in this hole he was able to photograph the same parachute in April.
The small helicopter on board, called Ingenuity, for its part captured even more impressive photos in flight: not only the parachute, but also the rear shield that contained the latter before its deployment.
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