On Mars there are already almost 7 tons of garbage from Earth. It is said soon. Even without any human being having set foot on Mars yet, the Red Planet is already covered in our junk, coming from the 18 human-made objects that have been sent to the planet over the last five decades.
According to Cagri Kilic , a Postdoctoral Fellow in Robotics at West Virginia University, the debris currently found on Mars comes from three main sources: discarded hardware, idle spacecraft, and crashed spacecraft.
While much of the now Martian debris is unavoidable, as many of the parts must be disposed of to protect the ship as it rises through the red planet’s hellish atmosphere, our debris problem is already significant without having put a foot on mars
The Perseverance rover, currently exploring Mars, entered the Hogwallow Flats region and acquired a high-resolution 360-degree Mastcam-Z panorama. In it we could see a thermal blanket that was used to protect the car-sized vehicle from the extreme temperatures it experienced during landing. There’s also the parachute , the cone-shaped rear shell that protected the rover in space , a piece of shredded Dacron netting that also helped the rover land safely on Mars… and a long list of materials that have been ended up forming almost 7,000 kilos of terrestrial garbage on Mars.
What does this garbage represent?
This huge amount of debris currently scattered on Mars poses risks to current and future missions to the red planet. For starters, it’s important that any debris they find is well-recorded to make sure nothing contaminates the samples the rover is collecting.
There are a total of nine inactive spacecraft sitting on Mars, including the Mars 3 lander, Mars 6 lander, Viking 1 lander, Viking 2 lander, Sojourner rover, Schiaparelli lander from the European Space Agency, the Phoenix lander, the Spirit lander and the Opportunity rover.