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NASA solved the secret of ESA's missing Mars lander

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of Mars that are believed to be related to Europe's Schiaparelli lander

Lana Jelic | Oct 24, 2016 at 12:31 pm CDT (1 min, 43 secs time to read)

The ESA lost contact with its Schiaparelli lander shortly before it was supposed to land on Mars on October 19th, and now the mystery of what happened to it has been resolved. Like we previously noted, there was a chance that the lander ditched its parachute too early and crashed onto the surface of Red Planet.

NASA solved the secret of ESA's missing Mars lander | TweakTown.com

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to Europe's Schiaparelli test lander. The new image shows a bright spot that may be Schiaparelli's parachute, and a larger dark spot interpreted as resulting from the impact of the lander itself following a much longer free fall than planned after thrusters switched off prematurely.

via GIPHY

The location of the bright spot is within the planned landing area and the dark spot may be where the lander reached the surface and exposed darker ground.

The test lander is part of ESA's ExoMars 2016 mission, which placed the Trace Gas Orbiter into orbit around Mars on October 19. The orbiter will investigate Mars' atmosphere and provide relay communications capabilities for landers and rovers on the surface.

The next step of this two-part project is scheduled for 2020 when a surface rover will be placed on the surface of Mars.

Last updated: Apr 6, 2020 at 04:48 pm CDT

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.

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