Thursday May 24, 2018
Home Science & Technology Crash site of...

Crash site of ill-fated Schiaparelli probe found on the surface of Mars, says European Space Agency

The probe impacted the surface very close to its planned landing site, which allowed NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to take a picture of the crash site

0
//
110
Crash Site
What is believed to be the crash site of the Schiaparelli probe in this picture taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. VOA
Republish
Reprint
  • The European Space Agency says it has found the crash site of its ill-fated Schiaparelli probe on the surface of Mars
  • ExoMars Flight Operations Director Michel Denis said that the probe impacted the surface very close to its planned landing site, which allowed NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to take a picture of the crash site
  • ESA engineers continue to study the data to try to find the reason things went awry

October 23, 2016: The European Space Agency says it has found the crash site of its ill-fated Schiaparelli probe on the surface of Mars.

“I believe we have found where Schiaparelli landed,” said ExoMars Flight Operations Director Michel Denis. “This didn’t land softly as we would have liked to, because the final phase of descent and landing did not function nominally.”

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

He added that many aspects of the descent went as planned, but that the parachutes were “released a bit too early” and the engines designed to help slow down the craft only fired for a few seconds, which, in his words was “also too little.”

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and its entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, approaching Mars. The separation is scheduled to occur on 16 October 2016, about seven months after launch. VOA
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and its entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, Schiaparelli, approaching Mars. The separation is scheduled to occur on 16 October 2016, about seven months after launch. VOA

“So basically Schiaparelli has reached the ground with a velocity which was much higher than it should, so several hundreds of kilometers per hour and is unfortunately then of course being, well, destroyed by the impact,” he said.

Denis said the probe impacted the surface very close to its planned landing site, which allowed NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to take a picture of the crash site.

A roughly 15 meter by 40 meter dark patch is visible in the MRO photo. The impact site is about eight kilometers west of the planned touchdown spot near the equator at the Meridiani Plain.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

This NASA map shows the locations of landings on Mars. VOA
This NASA map shows the locations of landings on Mars. VOA

“One can see clearly the parachute, which landed after it was released at the right place and the place where Schiaparelli should have landed softly but unfortunately did not land softly,” he said. “But one can see this clearly in the pictures.”

ESA engineers continue to study the data to try to find the reason things went awry.

The probe was released from its mother ship, the Trace Gas Orbiter, Sunday, and over the ensuing days, it positioned itself for a landing. ESA lost radio contact with it about 50 seconds before it was scheduled to land.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

As with any landing on such a distant body, it’s tricky, with some calling the descent “six minutes of hell,” as the craft plunges toward the red planet at 21,000 kilometres per hour.

The ExoMars program is a joint effort with Russia and seeks to determine if there is or was life on the Red Planet. (VOA)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Scientists Track Chinese Space Station as It Falls to Earth

Tiangong-1 was launched into orbit in 2011 as China’s first space lab

0
//
58
Visitors sit besides a model of Chinese made Tiangong 1 space station at the 8th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, known as Airshow China 2010, in Zhuhai city, south China, Guangdong province. VOA
Visitors sit besides a model of Chinese made Tiangong 1 space station at the 8th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, known as Airshow China 2010, in Zhuhai city, south China, Guangdong province. VOA
  • Scientists track the Chinese Space Station
  • It will fall on Earth soon
  • Scientists are trying to locate the exact location where it will fall

Scientists are monitoring a defunct Chinese space station that is expected to fall to Earth around the end of the month, the largest manmade object to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in a decade.

The head of the European Space Agency’s debris office, Holger Krag, says China’s Tiangong-1 space station will likely fall to Earth between March 30 and April 3.

Krag said it still not yet known where the space station will hit Earth, but said it would be extremely unlikely for anyone to be injured when it does.

The ISS currently has current six crew members on the orbital laboratory. Wikimedia Commons
The Chinese Space Station can fall on Earth anytime. Wikimedia Commons

Injury unlikely

“Our experience is that for such large objects typically between 20 and 40 percent of the original mass, of 8.5 tons, will survive re-entry and then could be found on the ground, theoretically,” he said.

“However, to be injured by one of these fragments is extremely unlikely. My estimate is that the probability to be injured by one of these fragments is similar to the probability of being hit by lightning twice in the same year,” Krag added.

Also Read: An Out-of-control Chinese Space Station is Falling Towards The Earth! Should we be Worrying About Tiangong-1?

He said the space station is expected to fall between the areas of 43 degrees south and 43 degrees north, and everything outside that zone is considered safe.

“Northern Europe including France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are definitely on the safe side. Southern Europe, the southern part of North America, South Asia, Africa, Australia and also South America are still within the zone today,” he said.

Where will it hit?

Tiangong-1
Tiangong-1 was used for multiple manned and un-manned space missions before authorities lost control of the Chinese space station. Wikimedia ommons

Scientists say it is hard to predict where Tiangong-1 will hit Earth in part because of its low orbit and high velocity. They say the space station is travelling 17,400 mph and orbits Earth about every 90 minutes.

Tiangong-1 was launched into orbit in 2011 as China’s first space lab. It carried out orbit experiments in preparation for China’s plan to put a permanent space station into orbit by 2023. VOA