Crashed Schiaparelli Probe Found

Posted: Oct 21 2016, 12:42pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Crashed Schiaparelli Probe Found
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site. Credit: NASA
 

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted Schiaparelli on Mars' surface.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Mars that are believed to be related to ESA’s ExoMars Schiaparelli, ESA has announced.

Schiaparelli entered the martian atmosphere at 14:42 GMT on 19 October for its 6-minute descent to the surface, but contact was lost shortly before expected touchdown. Data recorded by its mothership, the Trace Gas Orbiter, are currently being analyzed to understand what happened during the descent sequence.

In the meantime, the low-resolution CTX camera on-board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) took pictures of the expected touchdown site in Meridiani Planum on 20 October as part of a planned imaging campaign.

The image released today has a resolution of 6 meters per pixel and shows two new features on the surface when compared to an image from the same camera taken in May this year. 

Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometers, therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h. The relatively large size of the feature would then arise from disturbed surface material. It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full. These preliminary interpretations will be refined following further analysis. 

ESA lost contact with Schiaparelli yesterday.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr () is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com.

 

 

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