TEMPLE, Texas — Recently, NASA's Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, took flight on the red planet only to find a wreckage of spacecraft debris.
The debris appeared saucer-like with parts scattered around it. NASA also said it had a parachute attached to it.
Turns out though that it wasn't made by extraterrestrials (sorry alien hunters). The wreck is man-made and happened during the Perseverance rover landing on Feb. 18, 2021.
According to NASA, the "cone-shaped back shell... protected the rover in deep space and during its fiery descent toward the Martian surface."
"Entry, descent and landing on Mars is fast-paced and stressful, only only for the engineers back on Earth, but also for the vehicle enduring the gravitational forces, high temperatures, and other extremes that come with entering Mars' atmosphere at nearly 12,500 mph," NASA continued.
The shell impacted Mars' surface at about 78 mph, the agency said. Even so, NASA said its protective coating remained intact, along with the cables attaching the parachute to it.
The agency also said the images of this wreckage is useful for space explorers; It can help ensure safer landings for future spacecraft like the Mars Sample Return Lander, which will help bring back samples of rock, atmosphere and sediment back to earth.
Click here to read more about the wreck, learn about Ingenuity and Perseverance.