October 27, 2016
Scientists investigate what caused a spacecraft destined for Mars to crash-land on the planet’s surface.
Last Wednesday, scientists in Germany anxiously awaited news that a spacecraft, named Schiaparelli (SKEE-ahp-ah-rel-EE), had landed safely on Mars. But 50 seconds before the lander was supposed to touch down, its signal stopped. Researchers soon discovered that Schiaparelli had crashed into the surface of Mars. It likely exploded on impact.
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched Schiaparelli earlier this year as part of its larger ExoMars mission. Schiaparelli’s main purpose was to test whether the ESA could successfully land a spacecraft on Mars.