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Is This Schiaparelli’s Crash Site on Mars?

A pair of high-resolution images taken from high above Mars appears to show the impact site of ESA’s Schiaparelli lander. Schiaparelli, a demonstration module intended to test technologies for landing on Mars, was supposed to thump onto the Red Planet two days ago, then relay images and weather data back to Earth. But engineers at the European Space Agency’s mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, feared the worst when none of those data came through. Now they’re closer to having answers thanks to a pair of images taken October 19th…

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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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ExoMars Orbiter Reaches Red Planet

After a 7-month journey from Earth and a 139-minute rocket burn, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has settled in around its new home. An artist’s concept of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter firing its braking rocket.ESA / ATG medialab It was tense day at the European Space Agency’s main control center in Darmstadt, Germany. Some 87 million km away, two spacecraft dispatched from Earth together last March atop a Russian-built Proton rocket were attempting to get to their respective destinations. The main ExoMars craft, called the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO),…

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Mars 2020 Rover Construction Moves Ahead

The Mars 2020 rover reaches a third milestone on the path to the launch pad. An artist’s concept of the Mars 2020 rover in action. NASA Things are getting real now. Last week, NASA announced that it will proceed with the final design and construction of the Mars 2020 rover. The announcement comes after intensive engineering and design studies that evaluated proposals for instrument packages. Set to launch in the summer of 2020, the as-yet unnamed Mars 2020 rover will arrive at the Red Planet for its very own “seven…

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NASA’s Juno Probe Reaches Jupiter

After a 5-year-long journey, NASA’s Juno probe, an emissary to the largest planet in the solar system, has arrived at its destination and slipped into orbit around Jupiter. An artist’s conception of Juno performing a 35-minute-long engine firing to enter orbit around Jupiter.NASA / JPL “Joy” at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s mission control center today is spelled JOI — for Jupiter Orbital Insertion. July 4th fireworks erupted in the outer solar system overnight, as the Juno probe fired its main engine and entered a polar orbit around Jupiter at 11:53…

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