LOOK: NASA Exposes Shocking Photos of ExoMars Schiaparelli Lander Crash Site on Mars
NASA has released a new set of detailed images, revealing the crash site of ESA's EXoMars Schiaparelli lander and the Mars probe lying on the Martian surface.
The European Space Agency (ESA) planned a soft landing for the Mars lander. However, things went awry when the Schiaparelli lander opened its parachute before the calculated deployment. This resulted to the lander's thruster not being able to fire long enough for a safe landing; thus, the shocking crash on Oct. 19.
During the landing, communication with the capsule was lost during the final minute of the descent while the Schiaparelli was traveling the speed of about 300 kph before hitting the ground.
The detailed image released by NASA shows the lander lying on the Martian surface. The lander, upon impact, created a dark crater on the the red planet's surface. The said crater is about 1.6 feet deep and nearly 8 feet wide. Schiaparelli's crash site photos were captured by a NASA Mars orbiter, Space.com reports.
ESA notes that the dark patch around the Schiaparelli debris could give clues on what went wrong. "They show a dark patch around the capsule -- a possible hint that a fuel tank exploded -- and the indication is that the impact gouged out a crater 50cm deep," the agency said.
However, despite the crash, Jan Woemer, ESA's Director-General, still says that the space mission is still a success as they Schiaparelli has gathered sufficient data, which it transmitted minutes before its descent.
Woemer also added that Schiaparelli's mother ship, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), did not end up with the same fate as its Mars capsule. In fact, TGO is currently placed in the Martian orbit. The mother ship could send new information regarding the Martian atmosphere and its composition.