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Mars' lander fate is unclear, but signs are not good

Paolo Ferri, ESA's head of operations said it is too soon to jump to conclusions but 'it's clear that these are not good signs'

By Lana Jelic on Oct 19, 2016 05:24 pm CDT - 1 min, 5 secs reading time

The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) of ESA's ExoMars 2016 has successfully performed the long 139-minute burn required to be captured by Mars and entered an elliptical orbit around the Red Planet.

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The TGO is now on its planned orbit around Mars, accompanied by the 13-year old Mars Express orbiter.

However, contact has not yet been confirmed with the mission's test lander from the surface. The Schiaparelli lander was programmed to autonomously perform an automated landing sequence, but the signal stopped shortly before landing.

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Paolo Ferri, ESA's head of operations said it is too soon to jump to conclusions but "it's clear that these are not good signs."

ESA announced they will hold a media briefing tomorrow at 10:00 CEST (08:00 GMT) on the status of ExoMars. It is expected they will share more info on the Schiaparelli status.

Schiaparelli and the Trace Gas Orbiter left for Mars in March aboard a Russian rocket.

ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) is a two-part multi-year Martian astrobiology life searching project and joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). The next step is scheduled for 2020 when a surface rover will be placed on the surface of Mars.

Lana Jelic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Lana Jelic

Lana has a passion for technology and science. She spends her time looking for the latest and most interesting technology and science news. Her passion is in gadgets, wearables, and other cool and interesting applications of technology or science. She also spends her free time gaming in MMOs like World of Warcraft. She has prior experience covering technology for publications and breaking news. If she’s not doing either, you might just find her exploring the metaverse in VR. Lana wants to expand TweakTown’s coverage of mobile, wearables and gadgets while also bringing her experience with science and general tech to TweakTown. Her area of coverage is around science, technology, smartphones, wearables, and general neat gadgets. She hopes to one day be able to drive around in her self-driving car while she schedules an appointment for a SpaceX trip to the moon on her smartwatch.

NEWS SOURCE:latimes.com

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