[meteorite-list] Further Clues to Fate of Schiaparelli Mars Lander, Seen From Orbit
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 16:58:15 -0700 (PDT)
Further Clues to Fate of Mars Lander, Seen From Orbit
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
October 27, 2016
The most powerful telescope orbiting Mars is providing new details of
the scene near the Martian equator where Europe's Schiaparelli test lander
hit the surface last week.
An Oct. 25 observation using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment
(HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows three impact
locations within about 0.9 mile (1.5 kilometers) of each other. An annotated
view is available online at
The scene shown by HiRISE includes three locations where hardware reached
the ground. A dark, roughly circular feature is interpreted as where the
lander itself struck. A pattern of rays extending from the circle suggests
that a shallow crater was excavated by the impact, as expected given the
premature engine shutdown. About 0.8 mile (1.4 kilometers) eastward, an
object with several bright spots surrounded by darkened ground is likely
the heat shield. About 0.6 mile (0.9 kilometer) south of the lander impact
site, two features side-by-side are interpreted as the spacecraft's parachute
and the back shell to which the parachute was attached. Additional images
to be taken from different angles are planned and will aid interpretation
of these early results.
The test lander is part of the European Space Agency's ExoMars 2016 mission,
which placed the Trace Gas Orbiter into orbit around Mars on Oct. 19.
The orbiter will investigate the atmosphere and surface of Mars and provide
relay communications capability for landers and rovers on Mars.
Data transmitted by Schiaparelli during its descent through Mars' atmosphere
is enabling analysis of why the lander's thrusters switched off prematurely.
The new HiRISE imaging provides additional information, with more detail
than visible in an earlier view with the Context Camera (CTX) on the Mars
With HiRISE, CTX and four other instruments, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
has been investigating Mars since 2006.
The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colorado. NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate,
Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the orbiter and
collaborates with JPL to operate it. For additional information about
the project, visit:
News Media Contact
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov
European Space Agency, Villanueva de la Ca?ada, Spain
0031 61 594 3 954
markus.bauer at esa.int
Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077
dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov / laura.l.cantillo at nasa.gov
Received on Thu 27 Oct 2016 07:58:15 PM PDT