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Boom! Orbiter spies crash site on Mars

Images from space show a dark spot on Mars’ surface where none was seen before, thought to be where the Schiaparelli lander crashed on Mars last Wednesday.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site. Image via NASA.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site. White speck in the lower part of box appears to be the lander’s parachute. The dark spot appears to be the crash site. Image via NASA.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to Europe’s Schiaparelli test lander – part of the ExoMars mission – which arrived at Mars on October 19, 2016.

The new image shows a bright spot that may be Schiaparelli’s parachute, and a larger dark spot interpreted as resulting from the impact of the lander itself following a much longer free fall than planned, after thrusters switched off prematurely.

More details about this image here.

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Deborah Byrd