NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover on its journey to the red planet to study the signs of Martian life, traveled into space with a variety of interesting objects that NASA describes as both “decorative and useful”. In a December 19 release, NASA intrigued the astrophile when it shared details of the top 5 mysterious objects, which ranged from posters to a piece of Martian meteorite on board that humans were barely aware of.
“More than halfway to the Red Planet, NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover not only carries sophisticated scientific instruments and tubes to fill them with earthbound rock samples,” wrote NASA, unraveling the riddle. It was stated that the rover was actually crammed with symbols, mottos and items that were extremely useful and also playful – like the names of 10.9 million people who bought the tickets for the flight to Mars – virtually.
In NASA’s own language, the rover stuck to the “early space age” tradition known as “festooning”. In one example, NASA cites an example where the space agency installed the remains of the Twin Tower explosion aboard Opportunity and Spirit and a gold record on Voyager 1 and 2, while NASA loaded Spirit with a memorial to the crew, who worked with Space Shuttle Columbia, which catastrophically exploded on February 1, 2003. This is the crew of the Indian astronaut Kalpana Chawla – the first woman to ever go into space. NASA shared a similar list of key items aboard the Perseverance.
According to NASA, the Mastcam-Z learning object is Perseverance’s “eye”. This is a sundial device that allows scientists and astronauts to determine whether it is day or night in space while the camera captures color and grayscale patterns on the object to determine the position of the sun from space. Interestingly, it has figures of dinosaurs, early human cyanobacteria, a fern as a tribute to early life.
2. SHERLOC’S COIN
As NASA bets, that slice of Martian meteorite coin and spacesuit materials, including helmet visor material, could be of extreme interest to those who play GPS-enabled geocaching outdoors. This is a special coin with the address of a fictional detective namesake. Perseverance’s coin is part of the calibration target for ‘SHERLOC’ which is basically a ‘Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals’ instrument used with another camera such as the WATSON instrument that takes pictures in space.
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This is a favorite of rock collectors and geologists, according to NASA estimates. This is a laser instrument that bolts rocks and earth and determines its composition from the vapors. Interestingly, the Supercam made a round trip to the International Space Station (ISS) even before it was loaded onto Perseverance.
4. Microchip with 11 million names
These are the names of people who wanted to fly to “Mars” and were virtually brought into space by NASA when the persistence subsided. The microchip was given names by NASA that were submitted by the public. Perseverance has three small chips with them, which also name the 155 finalists who took part in the Name the Rover competition.
5th COVID memorial
Last but not least, NASA carries a plate that is attached to the left side of the rover chassis. It is a reminder of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the victims and healthcare workers who lost their lives fighting the coronavirus. On the aluminum plate is the planet earth, which is carried by the staff of Asclepius, an ancient Greek symbol for healing and medicines.
(Photo credit: @NASAPersevere Twitter)
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