European Spacecraft Schiaparelli Lost After Reaching Mars Orbit

Posted: Oct 20 2016, 6:32am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 20 2016, 6:48am CDT , in Latest Science News


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European Spacecraft Schiaparelli Lost After Reaching Mars Orbit
ExoMars 2016 approaching Mars. Credit: ESA
  • ESA Spacecraft orbits Mars yet Lander’s Future is Precarious

The ESA spacecraft has started orbiting Mars yet the lander’s future status is a precarious deal.

The ESA was successful in placing a spacecraft in orbit around Mars. This spacecraft is supposed to sniff out methane. Yet it is not certain whether the lander landed safely on the surface of Mars.

Things didn’t exactly go as per plan. The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) of the European-Russian ExoMars 2016 mission made it into orbit around Mars today. While it was a case of so far so good, that was just one half of the tale. The rest didn’t really add up to a success story.

The lander which has been termed Schiaparelli hit the surface of Mars soon afterwards. Yet no signals were forthcoming from this module of sorts. It looks like the lander didn’t survive the journey down to the surface.

The problem seems to be that the lander’s signals underwent a blockage or hindrance of some sort just a few minutes before it hit the ground.

What is very clear is that all this points towards failure of one kind or another. More data needs to be sifted through to find out whether there was any kind of accidental occurrence along the way.

It is a sure thing that by tomorrow morning, we will know what went wrong. If Schiaparelli did manage to make it out alive and well from the Martian descent, then it will be a relief for the scientists back home. The Schiaparelli and TGO launched together in March on top of a Russian Proton rocket.

The venue of the launch was Kazakhstan. The spacecraft symbolized the two part ExoMars mission that was spearheaded by Roscosmos and the ESA. Europe has spent 1.3 billion euros on this venture, according to

As Schiaparelli was making a touchdown, signals from it were coming loud and clear back home on earth. Yet the moment it was about to land on the surface of Mars something happened and the signals just stopped coming.

The mystery surrounding this is something which will not be solved so easily. It will take time and effort. At the latest by tomorrow morning, the results will be in.

The signals are faint to begin with. Then when they just stop coming, it is indeed a cause for worry. Yet there are ways of reaching the lost module known as Schiaparelli. It is just a matter of time before the truth will come out regarding Schiaparelli.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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