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Europe Lost Contact with Mars Lander 1 Minute Before Touchdown

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The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and its lander Schiaparelli are pictured in this artist's rendering approaching Mars.
ExoMars + Schiaparelli visualized as approaching Mars/ESA/ATG medialab

Official: Crash land photos

Update: Europe’s Mars lander likely lost

From BBC:

There have been about 15 attempts to get down to the surface of Mars, and they are split fairly evenly between success and failure.

The US space agency has been the most successful with seven successful landings on the Red Planet.

The Soviet Mars 3 probe landed softly but only transmitted data for 15 seconds.

The European Space Agency’s last attempt to land on Mars was in 2003, with Beagle 2. But it never sent a signal from the surface. More.

Drawing board.

Here, doubtless updated

This, updated, does not sound like good news:

After a suspenseful night waiting for a signal from the ExoMars Schiaparelli lander, the European Space Agency (ESA) confirmed today that the spacecraft went silent less than a minute before it was set to reach the Martian surface Wednesday (Oct. 19).

ESA mission managers said this morning (Oct. 20) that they need more time to understand what went wrong with Schiaparelli, and to figure out exactly where and in what condition the test lander ended up. But the ExoMars team was optimistic that the capsule had collected enough data during its descent to set the stage for the next phase of the mission: the planned 2020 launch of a life-hunting ExoMars rover.

“The test has yielded a huge amount of data,” David Parker, ESA’s director of human spaceflight and robotic exploration, said at a news conference early this morning. “It gives us a lot of confidence for the future. We need to understand what happened in the last few seconds before the planned landing, and that is likely to take some time.” [In Photos: Europe’s Schiaparelli Mars Landing Day]

5 Replies to “Europe Lost Contact with Mars Lander 1 Minute Before Touchdown

  1. 1
    Andre says:

    Maybe Martians shot it down, just like they destroyed pathfinder…. The universe is teeming with life so don’t be surprised.

    Pity all those billions of euros have gone to waste it could have fed many mouths on earth.

  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    On average it takes about 12 minutes to send a message at light speed to reach Mars. Another 12 mins or so for a response. Isn’t losing contact a “minute before touchdown” a moot point:)

  3. 3
    News says:

    ppolish at 2: That’s how the news sources put it. We will try to keep you posted. Haven’t got definitive news yet.

  4. 4
    ppolish says:

    My smart alec remark was aimed at news source – not you News:) Anyway, not a very smart remark since most realize losing contact a minute before landing makes sense.

    Seems heat shield & parachutes worked ok, but thrusters didn’t perform their slowing job. Oh well, new crater on Mars:(

  5. 5
    News says:

    I’ll be back with ID-relevant news soon. Stuck on slow on an unrelated job earlier today.

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