by Bryce Getchell | @porkfryedbryce
Scientists are left in the dark as the Schiaparelli Mars Lander, which had been scheduled to make its descent towards the red planet this morning at 10:48 a.m., went silent minutes before landing. With no way to be sure whether Schiaparelli successfully made it onto the surface unscathed, scientist turn their gaze towards the Mars Landers counterpart, the Trace Gas Orbiter. Luckily, all reports from the Orbiter have returned with great news as it has safely entered into the Orbit around Mars.
The Trace Gas Orbiter and the Schiaparelli Mars Lander are both part of the ExoMars Mission. The European Space Agency launched the ExoMars Mission over seven months ago to test technology that might be needed for any future Mars Rovers.
During today’s briefing, ESA planetary scientist Olivier Witasse had this to say, “We can say the mission is not nominal, but it’s too early to speculate about what happened. We’re hoping for the best of course.”
Both the Orbiter and the Lander have scheduled transmissions that they are expected to send hours after landing. Hopefully these transmitted messages will help shed more light on the outcome of the Schiaparelli.
You can learn more by visiting the ESA website and be sure to check back soon for an update on the status of the Schiaparelli Mars Lander.