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Schiaparelli is Gone. Smashed on the surface of Mars

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site before and after the lander arrived. The images have a resolution of 6 meters per pixel and shows two new features on the surface when compared to an image from the same camera taken in May this year. The black dot appears to be the lander impact site and the smaller white dot below the paw-shaped cluster of craters, the parachute. Credit: NASA Instead of a controlled descent to the surface using its thrusters, ESA’s Schiaparelli lander hit the ground hard and may very…

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ESA’s Schiaparelli Lander: Missing in Action

Here’s what we know so far about the fate European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli mission. Update (October 20th): Well, ESA held the morning briefing as expected at 10:00 a.m. CEST, and the prognosis isn’t good for the Schiaparelli lander. ESA spacecraft operations manager Andrea Accomazzo emphasized that this was an entry and descent test, and that the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter “is working perfectly.” ESA scientists also stressed that data analysis from the descent is still under scrutiny. Initial results suggest that the heat shield and parachute worked properly. Then, Accomazzo said,…

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Astronomy Dragon 2 Elon Musk Falcon 9 Falcon Heavy Featured Mars News red dragon capsule Saturn V SpaceX 

Uh, We’re Going To Need A Bigger Landing Pad

Since 2000, Elon Musk been moving forward with his vision of a fleet of reusable rockets, ones that will restore domestic launch capability to the US and drastically reduce the cost of space launches. The largest rocket in this fleet is the Falcon Heavy, a variant of the Falcon 9 that uses the same rocket core, with two additional boosters that derived from the Falcon 9 first stage. When it lifts off later this year, it will be the most operational powerful rocket in the world. …

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Good News, Martian Colonists Can Eat All the Radishes They Want

When your stated purpose is to send settlers to Mars by 2026, you’re sure to encounter a lot of skepticism. And that is exactly what Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp has been dealing with ever since he first went public with MarsOne in 2012. In fact, in the past four years, everything from the project’s schedule, technical and financial feasibility, and ethics have been criticized by scientists, engineers and people in the aerospace industry. However, Lansdorp and his organization have persevered, stating that they intend to overcome all the challenges…

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What are the Different Masses of the Planets?

It is a well known fact that the planets of the Solar System vary considerably in terms of size. For instance, the planets of the inner Solar System are smaller and denser than the gas/ice giants of the outer Solar System. And in some cases, planets can actually be smaller than the largest moons. But a planet’s size is not necessarily proportional to its mass. In the end, how massive a planet is has more to do with its composition and density. So while a planet like Mercury may…

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