OCT 25, 2016 06:39 AM PDT

Images From MRO Show Where ESA's Schiaparelli Lander Crash-Landed on Mars

Last week, the European Space Agency had a giant face-palm moment after their Trace Gas Orbiter ejected the Schiaparelli Mars lander and it failed to land on the red planet safely.
 
Rather than coming to a soft landing on the Martian surface, it’s believed due to loss of communication just before the time of expected touchdown that the landing equipment didn’t do its job properly and the lander probably crashed into the surface and was destroyed on impact.
 
Now, new imagery released by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) at a low resolution of 6 meters per pixel appears to show the final resting place for Schiaparelli by way of a new marking on the planet’s surface that wasn’t there prior to the attempted landing.
 

Mars Schiaparelli landing site before and after.

 Image Credit: ESA/MRO

Clearly seen in the before/after GIF above, you can see a black dot appear inside the bounding box near the top left, which is believed to be the Schiaparelli lander itself.
 
Looking carefully, one can also see a bright white spot on the bottom right of the bounding box, which is believed to be the lander’s 12-m parachute.
 
As you might be wondering why the Schiaparelli lander looks bigger than the parachute, well the ESA says there’s a logical explanation.
 
The lander fell from the air at anywhere from 2-4 kilometers up, which meant it would have impacted the surface at a rate of speed of around 300 km/h. At this speed, it would have done a considerable amount of damage to the Martian surface, kicking up debris and disturbing the uniform bright surface. What you’re seeing is a miniature crater dug by the impact.
 
There is even speculation that the lander may have exploded after having such a hard impact on the surface.
 
As early as next week, the MRO’s highest resolution camera (HiRISE) will get a chance to scan these parts of Mars and get a clearer, closer look at the supposed Schiaparelli landing site.
 
Despite the mishap with the Schiaparelli lander, part two of the mission to put the Mars 2020 rover on the red planet is still a go. Perhaps this time around, the payload will have better luck landing.
 
Source: ESA

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
JUN 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 11, 2018
Are Nanodiamonds to Blame for Anomalous Microwave Emissions?
Astronomers are always attempting to answer the seemingly endless stream of questions that arise from studying outer space. One of the most crucial questio...
JUN 13, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 13, 2018
NASA's Opportunity Rover Falls Silent Amid Worsening Martian Dust Storm
If you weren’t already aware, NASA’s solar-powered Opportunity rover is in a bit of a pickle right now. A continent-sized dust storm enveloped...
JUN 19, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 19, 2018
Watch the Heart of the ESA's ExoMars Rover Endure Stress Testing
The European Space Agency plans to send its ExoMars rover to Mars in 2020 to explore the red planet’s surface for signs of past (or present) life. Bu...
JUN 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 27, 2018
The James Webb Space Telescope Just Got Delayed... Again
Astronomers and planetary scientists are getting antsy to make use of NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to reveal more secrets about...
AUG 29, 2018
Neuroscience
AUG 29, 2018
Are Women's Brains Protected From Cosmic Rays?
Going to space is a dream for many. Astronauts are viewed almost as superheroes, but the dangers of space travel cannot be underestimated. On long trips, s...
SEP 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 17, 2018
How Common Are Planetary Collisions?
Outer space is nothing short of a galactic free-for-all. Space rocks fly in virtually every direction, sporadically impacting larger objects like moons, pl...
Loading Comments...