the planet accumulate more than 7 tons of waste

Mars accumulates more than 7 tons of human garbage. Photo: Reuters

The surface of Mars accumulates more than 7 tons of human garbage, according to a calculation by researchers at West Virginia University based on the 14 missions that have arrived at the red planet in the last 50 years.

The calculation was obtained by Cagri Kilic, a robotics researcher at West Virginia University, from the analysis of the 18 human-made objects bound for Mars who arrived at the neighboring planet in 14 separate missions.

Cagri Kilic made the calculation by adding the mass of all the spacecraft that have ever been sent to Mars and in total they are 9,979 kilos, almost 10 tons, however, subtracting the weight of the ships currently working on the red planet, which is 2,860 kilos, you get a total of 7,119 kilos, that is, more than 7 tons of human waste.

The study indicates that debris on Mars come from three main sources: scrapped hardware, idle spaceships, and crashed spaceships.

Every mission to the Martian surface requires a module that protects the spacecraft. This module includes a heat shield for when the spacecraft passes through the planet’s atmosphere and a parachute and landing hardware so it can land smoothly.

The ship discards module parts as it descends, and these pieces can land in different places on the surface of the planet; there may be a lower heat shield in one place and a parachute in another. When this debris falls to the ground, it can break into smaller pieces, as happened during the landing of the Perseverance rover in 2021. These small pieces can be blown away by Martian winds.

Over the years a lot of small windblown garbage was found, such as recently found network material. Earlier in the year, on June 13, 2022, the Perseverance rover detected a large, bright thermal blanket embedded in some rocks 2 km from where the rover landed. Both Curiosity in 2012 and Opportunity in 2005 also found debris from their landers.

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