NASA’s Perseverance rover has snapped a photo of a squiggly piece of rubbish appeared in frame that stumped researchers on first review.
Manmade objects are scattered across the surface of Mars from decades of exploration dating back to the first crash landing on the red planet in 1971.
The Perseverance rover has been scanning the surface of Mars for almost 18 months.
In that time, the bot has traveled over seven miles and taken almost 300,000 images.
One of the images had scientists stumped when an odd, seemingly unnatural piece of junk appeared in the frame.
Interesting Engineering reported that the most likely explanation is a discarded piece of debris from one of Nasa’s eight successful trips to Mars.
The picture was captured by the rover’s Hazard Avoidance Camera, which is part of the bot’s autonomous driving system.
The snapshot was voted the Perseverance rover’s “Image of the Week” last week.
It’s not the only time the bot has spotted something out of place on the planet next door.
The rover caught a glimpse of its own thermal blanket wedged in the jaws of a dinosaur-shaped rock – the unexplained part is the rover first landed on Mars over a mile away.
Robots will do much of the advance work for preparing Mars for human arrivals and the intel Perseverance provides is critical.
Last week, the official Perseverance Twitter account shared a panoramic image of a possible landing site for future missions to Mars.
The account personifies the rover in a fun and informative first-person style.
“I’ve been scoping out spots where Mars Sample Return spacecraft could set up operations – including the first launchpad on another planet,” the caption read.
Nasa maintains a webpage of the Perseverance rover’s real-time location online.
Elon Musk believes humans will set foot on Mars in 2029 but admits the planet is a “fixer-upper”.