OCT 20, 2016 7:19 AM PDT

As ExoMars Mission Deploys Lander to Mars, ESA Loses Contact With it

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Like NASA, the European Space Agency is trying their best to study Mars. They had hoped to use the ExoMars mission, which was launched in March, to learn more about the red planet and search for the existence of life.
 
The spacecraft, a Trace Gas Orbiter, which was launched earlier in the year made it to the red planet successfully on Wednesday and performed a rocket burn to get safely into the orbit of Mars, however something went wrong with the Schiaparelli lander that was ejected from it.
 

An artist's impression of the lander trying to land on the red planet.

 Image Credit: ESA

The lander was shunted into the Martian atmosphere this week and then an automated six-minute descent control booster rocket system burned and a parachute system was deployed to help stabilize the fall and get the lander to the Martian surface safely.
 
Unfortunately, about 50 seconds before the lander was projected to reach the surface, the ESA reportedly lost contact with the lander, signifying that the rockets probably stopped burning a little too early and this may have caused a crash landing.
 
It goes without saying from this evidence that the ESA was unsuccessful at landing on the red planet safely enough to stay fully intact.
 
The ESA says it’s still possible that we could reestablish a connection sometime in the next three to ten days as there’s still a battery power source on the lander, however things aren’t looking too hot right now with the current state of things.
 
The ExoMars mission is a two-stage mission and the Schiaparelli lander was only the first part. The second will be landing the all-new Mars 2020 lander in collaboration with NASA on the Martian surface in the year 2020, as the name suggests.
 
The ESA says this mission has taught them valuable lessons about landing on Mars, citing the fact that missions like these aren’t easy.
 
"From the engineering standpoint, it’s what we want from a test, and we have extremely valuable data to work with," said David Parker, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration, in a statement.
 
Let’s just hope a similar issue doesn’t happen when the more advanced Mars 2020 rover gets there…
 
Source: ESA via The Verge

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About Solar Orbiter
The Sun is something you see every day when you look up at the daytime sky, but despite residing right in plain sight, t ...
FEB 04, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 04, 2020
A Gamma-Ray Burst Like Nothing Else Before
Gamma-ray bursts (GRB) are among the most explosive and energetic celestial events that have been observed by astronomer ...
APR 05, 2020
Microbiology
APR 05, 2020
How Life Beneath the Sea Informs the Search for Life on Mars
Single-celled microbes that live beneath the floor of the ocean have provided insight into how scientists might be able ...
APR 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 05, 2020
These Incredible Concepts Could Get Astronauts to Mars Sooner
The idea of putting humans on Mars for first-time exploration isn’t too far-fetched. Space agencies and large comm ...
MAY 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 10, 2020
What Exactly Are Star Clusters?
When you think of stellar systems, you might be inclined to think of a system like our own with just one star, or perhap ...
MAY 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 17, 2020
Measurements Suggest Spin-Orbit Alignment for TRAPPIST-1's Exoplanets
Of all the exoplanetary systems that astronomers have discovered to date, perhaps one of the most intriguing of those is ...
Loading Comments...