NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter rose to the Martian skies in a record flight only to reveal the amount of debris and trash we left on the Martian surface as the Perseverance rover landed on Mars.
Humankind is making exceptional progress in exploring the solar system. We have already landed astronauts on the Moon and will return to the lunar surface once again in a few years.
In the meantime, we are exploring the solar system with robotic missions, some of which have already left the outermost limits and are traveling through interstellar space.
In exploring the solar system, we have two main goals; return to the Moon, where we will build lunar outposts on the surface and set foot on Mars. Both plans are challenging in their unique ways.
We have explored the lunar surface in the past, and various missions to the lunar surface have gathered valuable soil samples and returned them to Earth. Regrettably, however, each mission to the lunar surface means trash to be left behind.
Each mission to the lunar surface and robotic missions and trash in orbit contributes to the contamination of the lunar surface with human trash.
Why? Researchers determined that leaving some of the equipment behind would make it easier for astronauts to return home. But, unfortunately, this meant leaving behind LOTS of trash. According to reports, over 70 vehicles have been left all over the Moon due to probes crashing into the surface, which has been a routine part of the end of uncrewed missions.
It is no different from anywhere else we go, to be honest.
While we have made incredible progress in exploring the surface of the red planet in recent years, with many international missions successfully landing on the surface, we have accumulated tons and tons of space trash.
Insight looks back at Trash on Mars
Although it is spectacular to see a helicopter made on Earth fly on Mars, rotate its camera, and snap photographs of the landing site of the Perseverance Rover, it leaves us with a lot to think about. There have been ten successful soft landings on Mars by robotic, uncrewed spacecraft. The next step in the near future is to have astronauts set foot on the surface of the red planet.
Just as with the Moon landings, inevitably, we will leave behind trash. Rockets, satellites, defunct rovers. All these devices will accumulate throughout the years.
In addition to the numerous trash scattered across the surface of the Moon, the surface of Mars, and Venus, we must not forget that there is also a good deal of space trash orbiting the earth and floating in space.
Thousands of tons of trash in outer space is a huge issue, one we are simply not dealing with the way we should.
When exploring the solar system, we should care more about the mark we leave behind. It is our responsibility to clean up our mess and develop more environmentally friendly ways of exploring the solar system and protecting alien worlds from the contamination that humans have, regrettably, gotten very used to.
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