It’s definitely not edible.
Last month, NASA’s Perseverance rover spotted a mysterious noodle-like object on Mars.
Appearing as a sort of messy string, the object was first captured by the Mars rover’s camera on July 12 before mysteriously vanishing four days later.
NASA was adamant that the stringy object was of terrestrial origin and not the spilled ramen of some Martians, speculating it was likely “a piece of cord from the parachute or landing system that lower it [Perseverance] rover on the ground.”
And now it turns out the space agency wasn’t that far behind. In a statement on Monday, NASA said the unknown object was nothing more than a piece of Dacron netting, ending this Mars mystery.
Dacron is a polyester fiber used as a netting in thermal blankets, and while it may look unrecognizable now, that’s because it “appears to have undergone significant fraying/shredding, suggesting it has been subjected to strong forces,” according to NASA.
When the Perseverance rover touched down on Mars in February last year, its entry, descent and landing (EDL) gear blasted off to crash at a safe distance. The EDL impact scattered debris across the Martian surface, and that’s where the Dacron netting came from.
Considering it crashed about 2.2 km from the rover, the material traveled an impressive distance, likely due to wind, NASA said.
For the most part, a bundle of polyester strings blowing around Mars is harmless and fun enough, but NASA isn’t kidding: Team members are studying photos of the material because it “may be a potential source of contamination for humans.” sample tubes” in the area where it was found, the space agency said – but fortunately there are no “immediate concerns”.
There is also a risk of the shredded materials becoming entangled with the Perseverance rover itself, but NASA engineers judged the risk to be “low”.
In short, NASA doesn’t consider Spaghetti Martians too big of a threat. After all, space debris thrown onto the Martian surface is quickly becoming a fairly common occurrence.
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