ExoMars Schiaparelli Lander Crashed Due To A Computer Glitch

Posted: Oct 26 2016, 5:58am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 26 2016, 9:00pm CDT , in Latest Science News


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ExoMars Schiaparelli Lander Crashed due to a Computer Glitch
Schiaparelli with parachute deployed. Credit: ESA
  • Schiaparelli Lander probably underwent a Crash Landing due to Computing Glitch

According to reports, the Schiaparelli lander probably underwent a crash landing on the surface of Mars due to some sort of electronic fault in the system.

A glitch occurred in the computers on board the ExoMars Schiaparelli lander. This caused its crash on the surface of the Red Planet. The ESA reported this news which is a setback for science and technology.

However, every cloud has its silver lining. The software will be easily fixed instead of the more intractable hardware. The technological issue is not as serious as it appears to be. Resolution and a solution are both possible.

The ExoMars spacecraft was built via a joint cooperation effort between Roscosmos and the ESA. It consisted of a Trace Gas Orbiter (TRO) and the Schiaparelli module.

The major goal before this mission of sorts was to search for evidence of methane gas on the Red Planet. While it is common on the earth, it has been reported to exist sporadically on the surface of Mars by previous missions.

There are also traces of other gases on Mars that could lend proof that life forms exist on its surface.

About 7 days ago, after a seven month trip, the TRO entered the Mars atmosphere. As it began orbiting the Red Planet once every 4.2 days or so, the lander was sent spinning to the surface. Y

et it probably crashed and there have been no signals forthcoming from it. NASA released pics recently which showed aerial views of the region of Mars where the Schiaparelli lander crashed.

There are signs of the area having undergone erosion due to the lander’s impact. The investigation is proceeding apace. It is a likelihood that the lander blew up into smithereens on th surface of the planet.

The bursting of the lander was probably due to its fuel tanks being full. The heat shields and parachutes may have become operational way before their time leading to the accident.

As for the computer glitch, it caused the thrusters to go off after 3 seconds instead of 30, according to Nature. Despite this apparent setback, the mission was successful since it did manage to reach Mars. That in itself is enough to fill a space scientist’s heart with pride and glee.

If a mission doesn’t partially work out then it is not cause for dismal thinking. Something is better than nothing and it is always essential to hang in there and put one’s trust in science and technology as the twin engines of modern civilization.

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