Nasa releases images of ESA’s crashed Schiaparelli lander on Mars

Photos show a dark patch around the probe which suggests a possible fuel tank explosion

Images from a Nasa satellite show the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli lander has created a shallow crater on Mars after it crashed onto the surface of the planet.

The paddling pool-sized Schiaparelli lander lost communication with the ESA moments before landing and hit the surface at 190mph (300kph), creating a crater 50cm deep.

A dark patch can be seen around the probe, which suggests a fuel tank exploded, and could provide essential clues as to what went wrong.

Képtalálat a következőre: „Nasa releases images of ESA's crashed Schiaparelli lander on Mars”

The impact locations shown in the images are within about 0.9 miles of each other but are inside the intended landing zone, according to ABC News.

The probe was supposed to touch down using a parachute and a combination of a heat-shield and retro-rockets. It has been discovered the back cover and parachute were deployed earlier than they should have been.

Schiaparelli was carrying instruments that were intended to be used to help understand the Martian atmosphere and determine whether it might be possible that life ever existed on the planet.

It was part of the ESA’s ExoMars 2016 mission, which placed the Trace Gas Orbiter into orbit around Mars.

The main purpose of the mission was to work as a test run for a much larger attempt in 2020, when a rover was planned to be sent to the planet.

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