Thursday, October 20, 2016

History's most spectacular Mars mission fails

On Wednesday, the European Space Agency, with Russia's help, attempted to land an experimental spacecraft on Mars.

It didn't go according to plan. 

While the Schiaparelli lander seemed fine through most of its descent, mission managers lost its signal at a key moment during the landing attempt. The signal cut out just before the spacecraft's thrusters fired to bring it safely down to the red planet. 

People on the ground still haven't been able to figure out exactly what happened to the Schiaparelli, but signs aren't good. 

There's a chance the lander crashed, but it will take more analysis of information sent to Earth by the ESA's Trace Gas Orbiter — the other half of the ExoMars mission — that made it into Mars' orbit successfully on Wednesday. Read more...

More about Exomars, Spaceflight, Mars, Nasa, and Space

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