NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, has been on the planet since last year with the purpose of finding signs of life. However, NASA tweeted that the rover has come across something unexpected: human garbage.

What is it? The trash is reportedly a piece of a thermal blanket used to protect the rover from extreme conditions upon landing, according to Business Insider.

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How did it get there? NASA scientists are unsure how the trash got to where it is.

  • A post on the rover’s Facebook page reads, “It’s a surprise finding this here because my descent stage crashed about 2 km away. Did this piece land here after that, or was it blown here by the wind?”

A history of space junk: This isn’t the first time human litter has been spotted on Mars.

  • On April 19, a piece of the rover’s parachute and backshell were spotted on the red planet, according to
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Criticism: People on social media were quick to respond to the litter found on Mars, the Miami Herald reported.

  • One commenter on NASA’s Facebook post wrote, “I guess it will not be long until we start seeing soda bottles, discarded fast food packaging and plastic litter on Mars. Maybe we need to send a robot with a broom to start tidying up already.”
  • Another commenter wrote, “How to pollute without physically (being) in a place: that’s another level.”
  • “Just because humans don’t like scraps and debris, doesn’t mean the Martians hate it too. We know nothing about them. They could eat pollution for all we know,” another commenter joked.
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