Missing European craft 'crashed' into Mars

2016-10-21 22:28
The landing site of the Schiaparelli module within the predicted landing ellipse in a mosaic of images from the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter. (ESA vis AFP)

The landing site of the Schiaparelli module within the predicted landing ellipse in a mosaic of images from the Context Camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter. (ESA vis AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - A tiny European craft despatched to Mars for a trial touchdown on Wednesday "crashed" into pieces on the Red Planet's surface instead, a European Space Agency mission manager told AFP on Friday.

A NASA photograph of the intended landing site confirmed the Schiaparelli craft, missing for two days, had "crashed on the surface of Mars", Thierry Blancquaert said by telephone from mission control in Darmstadt, Germany.

The craft "reached the Martian surface a lot faster than intended," he said.

Flight operations manager Michel Denis added that an image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed a "white spot, consistent with the size of a parachute. About two kilometres away, there is a black spot... most likely Schiaparelli's point of impact".

The black spot was "larger than it would have been if Schiaparelli was in one piece", said Denis. "It is smashed."

The lander was on a test-run for a future rover that will seek out evidence of life, past or present, on the Red Planet.

It fell silent seconds before its scheduled touchdown, while its mothership Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) entered Mars' orbit as planned - part of a joint European-Russian project.

This is Europe's second failed Mars landing in a row, after the British-built Beagle 2 robot lab disappeared without trace after separating from its mothership, Mars Express, in 2003.

Read more on:    esa  |  mars  |  space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.