NASA has found ESA's lost Mars Lander?

By Cristina Limpiada | Oct 24, 2016 12:14 AM EDT
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The European Space Agency (ESA) failed to land the probe on Mars last Wednesday after Schiaparelli lander lost contact with the Earth. Consequently, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted a different movement on the surface of Mars which was believed to be the ESA's lost Schiaparelli lander.

According to Popular Mechanics, two new spots were seen to differ from Schiaparelli's landing site on May and present. Astronomers believe that the bright spot located in the lower half is likely the lander's parachute, while the darker spot located at the top of the image could be the location where the impact happens.

"Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometers, therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h," a statement from ESA explains. "The relatively large size of the feature would then arise from disturber surface material. It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full."

The new image was captured by MRO Context's Camera on October 20th, which vaguely shows features that seem to be related to the lost lander, as per Gizmodo. An explicit estimation defines that ESA's Schiaparelli had entered free fall some 1.25 to 2.5 miles or two to four kilometers above the surface, with the constant velocity of more than 180 mph or 300 kph.

Eventually, there is a high possibility that the possible crash was then accompanied by an explosion as the new burn mark of the Red Planet shows. In a few days, NASA finds opportunities to show the complete picture of data from ExoMars' Trace Gas Orbiter, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, and ESA's Mars Express satellite with the use of HiRISE or High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.

To recall, if these images are proved to be correct, this is the second time the MRO has located a European lander that malfunction and lost while trying to land on Mars. The first one was back in 2003 British Beagle 2 spacecraft which MRO found twelve years ago.

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