Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Schiaparelli's Crash Site Seen By NASA MRO Probe

Schiaparelli, was due to touch down on Mars Wednesday morning (Oct. 19).   However the lander stopped communicating with ESA mission control about 1 minute before its planned touchdown.

The lander's crash site was photographed by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and seemed to confirm what ExoMars team members had suspected — that Schiaparelli died a violent death.

It would appear that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 1.2 to 2.5 miles. This then would indicate that the lander impacted at a considerable speed, somewhere in excess of 186 mph.

It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full.  those tanks were still full because Schiaparelli's data indicate that the lander didn't fire its descent-slowing thrusters nearly as long as it was supposed to, ESA officials said.

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