Europe's Mars Lander Crashed

Schiaparelli Crash Site Located From Orbit

"NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to ESA's ExoMars Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing technology demonstrator module. Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometres, 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."

Keith's note: ESA's Trace Gas Orbiter is in orbit around Mars. As for Schiaparelli, all is known right now is that it separated, entered the atmosphere, and landed. Whether that landing was successfull will need to wait several hours for additional data to arrive and be analyzed.

Keith's update: Its not looking good for Schiaparelli.

Update: ExoMars Schiaparelli Lander Likely Lost But Descent Data Valuable for ExoMars Rover Mission [With press conference video]

While the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has settled into a nominal orbit, the fate of the Schiaparelli lander seems sealed, with the Red Planet claiming another victim.

During today's press conference ESA officials said early analysis of the data coming from Schiaparelli confirms "that the entry and descent stages occurred as expected, with events diverging from what was expected after the ejection of the back heat shield and parachute. This ejection itself appears to have occurred earlier than expected, but analysis is not yet complete. The thrusters were confirmed to have been briefly activated although it seems likely that they switched off sooner than expected, at an altitude that is still to be determined."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 21, 2016 1:20 PM.

SLS Flight Software Safety Issues at MSFC (Update) was the previous entry in this blog.

Why Hasn't New Horizons Submitted Feature Names to IAU Yet? is the next entry in this blog.

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