Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
World

Tense Wait for Word on Fate of European Mars Lander

The orbiter, which also has NASA-made instruments on board, will analyze methane and other gases in the atmosphere

Employees sit in the control center of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday Oct. 19, 2016, photo: AP/Uwe Ansspach
1 year ago

DARMSTADT, Germany – Scientists were waiting for word Wednesday on whether the European Space Agency’s experimental Schiaparelli probe had safely touched down on Mars.

Signals received from the lander indicated that it entered the atmosphere of the red planet as planned and deployed its parachute.

Schiaparelli is meant to test technology for a future European rover and avoid the fate of Europe’s ill-starred Beagle 2 robot, which failed to function after landing on Mars 13 years ago.

The probe is part of a larger mission called ExoMars that will help in the hunt for life on the planet.

Schiaparelli was released from the mother ship, the Trace Gas Orbiter, on Sunday. Scientists said the gentle approach would turn into a six-minute hell ride when the probe plunged into the hot, dusty Martian atmosphere and hurtled toward the surface at 21,000 kilometers an hour (13,050 mph).

ESA Exomars 2016. Photo: AP

ESA Exomars 2016. Photo: AP

If all went to plan, Schiaparelli would deploy a parachute and then thrusters to slow down to 10 kph (6.2 mph) before hitting the surface.

Don McCoy, the manager of the ExoMars project, said some data had been received from the lander confirming its entry and the deployment of its parachute. More information was expected later Wednesday.

“We can’t conclude the real status of [Schiaparelli] at the moment but indeed it did enter the atmosphere,” McCoy said at mission control in Darmstadt, Germany.

Landing a spacecraft on Mars is notoriously difficult and several past missions have failed, including the European Space Agency’s previous attempt in 2003 with the rover Beagle 2. It made it to Mars but its solar panels didn’t unfold properly, preventing it from communicating.

While Schiaparelli has some scientific instruments on board, its main purpose is to rehearse the landing and test technology for a European rover mission to Mars in 2020. NASA has successfully placed several robotic vehicles on the planet, including the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers.

The ExoMars program, which comprises the current and 2020 mission, is ESA’s first interplanetary mission jointly undertaken with the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Schiaparelli took off for Mars in March aboard a Russian rocket together with the Trace Gas Orbiter.

Methane is created by biological or geological activity and breaks down within a few hundred years once it reaches the atmosphere, suggesting there is biological or geological activity on Mars now or in the recent past.

The prospect of finding even microscopic organisms on Mars has excited scientists for some time, but so far none has been discovered.

GEIR MOULSON
CHRISTOPH NOELTING

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
Latest News

Fast-moving flames force people to flee ...

3 days ago
Entertainment

Prosecutors: No charges against conducto ...

3 days ago
Latest News

Southern snowfall isn't deep, but many f ...

3 days ago
Latest News

New Mexico school shooter left note plot ...

3 days ago
Most Popular

Colombia High Courts Paves Way for Gay M ...

By The Associated Press
World

Dead Sea Swim to Raise Awareness on Wani ...

By The Associated Press
World

Iran Approves Six to Run for President, ...

By The Associated Press
World

U.S. Set to Hit Venezuela with New Sanct ...

By The Associated Press
World

Mexico City Fashion Week Begins

By Caitlin Donohue
Living